Explore our research themes and meet our research champions
We are a leading research institution ranked in the top ten of UK higher institutions for research that has a positive impact.
Our work is focused around seven research themes which align our academic strengths to best meet the grand scientific, social and environmental challenges of our time.
Each theme is led by a research champion - a senior academic who works to consolidate our existing strengths, while seeking opportunities for collaboration across specialisms.
Creativity is a key driver of modern, dynamic societies and is at the centre of our research excellence. Our work considers the nature of creativity and the creative process across linguistic, cultural, aesthetic and cognitive dimensions. Research at the convergence of technology, digital games and interactive media, together with leading partners in the creative economy, enables us to deliver new experiences to provoke, inform and entertain for the wider benefit of society.
Culture and communication
Working on all periods from prehistory to the present and on places across the globe, York researchers explore every kind of cultural activity, product and practice from poetry to pollution, alongside every aspect of communications from syntax to cyberspace. They are advancing and challenging how we understand the world, and developing new intellectual tools to make sense of human thought, human behaviour and our relation to the natural world.
Environmental sustainability and resilience
Whether it is food scarcity and energy security, or climate change and pollution, our interdisciplinary research is providing the evidence base for policy makers to address the key global challenges facing ourselves and our planet, and so shape a more sustainable future for us all.
Health and wellbeing
Our global reputation in biomedicine, health science, economics and the medical humanities is built on research excellence that begins with the fundamental understanding of health and disease in the past and the present, and progresses to evidence-based decision-making about future healthcare policies and therapies.
Justice and equality
Fairness, inclusivity, equality, and welfare, are policy fields where our research sets the political agenda. These themes also define our values and approach to meeting the grand social challenges of our time at national and international level.
Risk, evidence and decision making
Risk for the real world: in an increasingly complex world, our research is penetrating deep into how decisions on risk are made and how they are shaped by technological, social and cultural factors. By drawing on our understanding of these factors, we can provide government and industry with better risk models and help influence policies resulting in better-informed decision making.
Technologies for the future
Our researchers are developing novel technologies, processes and materials with the potential to transform the economic, environmental, and social landscape. From precision plasma manufacturing, to plants that can devour toxins, fundamental research is being rapidly translated into real world solutions.