• Question: Why is your research important? What are the possible real world applications?

    Asked by chad on 19 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Debbie Crockard

      Debbie Crockard answered on 12 Mar 2020:


      I work in fisheries science, so my work is directly related to the real world. We try to help managers, the government and the fishing industry make sure that they are fishing sustainably to minimise the damage to the sea and the the ecosystems in the sea and to make sure there are enough fish left for the next year and the long-term. To do this is work directly with MPs and with the fishing industry themselves.

    • Photo: Amy Cameron

      Amy Cameron answered on 12 Mar 2020:


      The final project I worked on as a scientist was to try to undertsand how a medicine, Metformin, that is used to treat people with type 2 diabetes works. This medicine is the best medicine to use to treat people as it has the least side-effects, however, about 20% of those given it can’t tolerate it and about 5% get very ill. Metofrmin was developed at a time before medicines were made in a very targetted approach so we don’t know exactly how it works. If we can understand how it works, and what exactly causes these 20% not to tolerate it, we could make a better version. This would help a lot of people. Metformin has also been found to help people with type 2 diabetes who also have other health conditions, for example, heart disease. This medicine could help a lot more people with other health conditions other than type 2 diabetes. This can often happen that medicines used for one condition are found to also help others – a happy surprise and as such medicines have been widely used, they can be ‘fast-tracked’ to be used a treatments (you already know that they are safe, so lots of the safety testing is reduced so speeds up the time by which it can be prescribed by doctors for other conditions.

    • Photo: Nicola Asker

      Nicola Asker answered on 12 Mar 2020:


      I don’t really do research. My work directly leads to work being done on our gas transmission network of pipelines which is how we get gas to people’s houses so that they can heat their homes and cook with it.

    • Photo: Miriam Hogg

      Miriam Hogg answered on 12 Mar 2020:


      Interesting Question.

      So I actually study dying and dead stars called white dwarfs. While the majority of my work only impacts my area of research many things we work on can be applied to a wider audience.

      For example when Hubble lauched it’s telescope the images were fuzzy and the scientists fixed this by creating a way to sharpen the image. This techniquie was then applied to mamograms which are used to find breast cancer!

      Many astrophysics use Artifical Intellegence to help them sort through data and AI can be used to help in the real world. An axample would be using AI to predict electricity use in a country and making distribution more effecient, this lowers waste and decreases Co2 emmision. There are also people applying AI to health, travel, climate change and other imporant real life issues.

      My research is important in that it pushes forwards the knowledge of dying and dead stars. But the skills i’ve learned can be used for world problems and the way we fix or use our data can be applied to other areas

      Very interesting question 🙂

    • Photo: Dmitry Dereshev

      Dmitry Dereshev answered on 12 Mar 2020:


      I researched human-robot interaction – what makes a good robot for a person to hang out with. Many have tried to make a good robot companion in 2010s, but most have failed, the companies shut their doors, and we haven’t seen any social robot go mainstream. That’s what my researched tried to prevent – lost money, lost jobs, lost time, and broken dreams.

      The day may still come when you can buy a good companion robot to hang out with, and I hope my research would contribute to a well-crafted companion machine.

      At the moment I look at cybersecurity – keeping our online and computing lives safe and sound. I work on SPRITE+ project (https://spritehub.org/), which unites people from universities, companies, and the government into teams to predict and solve future problems in our digital lives.

      If all goes well, it will become safer to use your phones and computers, connect to public Wi-Fi without fear of being hacked, and buy stuff online, knowing for sure it is not a scam.

    • Photo: Freya Addison

      Freya Addison answered on 12 Mar 2020:


      Part of my research that I am involved in is looking at improving how we monitor airborne insects in the UK. Understanding and being able to track at the very least the biomass of insects in the atmosphere will be able to tell us more about overall population decline and where, than before. What we are researching is, can we go further and identify different species of at least groups of insects in terms of shape and size and from this create a map of biodiversity in different regions.

    • Photo: Hayley Pincott

      Hayley Pincott answered on 16 Mar 2020:


      I don’t carry out research in my job. I help docotrs diagnose diseases and then the patient gets the correct treatment according to the report we have produced. Although I don’t carry out research I work closely with researchers and they do a very important job. We couldn’t do the job we do without a lot of research going on before hand.

    • Photo: Hayley Pincott

      Hayley Pincott answered on 16 Mar 2020:


      I don’t carry out research in my job. I help doctorss diagnose diseases and then the patient gets the correct treatment according to the report we have produced. Although I don’t carry out research I work closely with researchers and they do a very important job. We couldn’t do the job we do without a lot of research going on before hand.

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