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5 surprising places you’ll find Newcastle University research

5 surprising places you’ll find Newcastle University research

From floral valleys in South Africa to New York’s Wall Street, you’d be amazed where our research is making a difference.

South African flower fields

Many people in South Africa make their living from fynbos – areas of natural vegetation filled with wild flowers. But 1,805 plant species are threatened with extinction in the area known as the Fynbos Biome – most can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. There are also 3,296 species of conservation concern and, again, the vast majority are unique to the area.

Newcastle researchers led by Professor Alex Hughes worked with other universities and the Flower Valley Conservation Trust to develop sustainable flower harvesting practices. The Field Guide for Wild Flower Harvesting was produced to help growers protect the region’s plant species and shows how sustainable harvesting benefits local economies.

Close-up of flower buds.

Wall Street

Transactions worth billions of dollars take place every day on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. Traders use Intel hardware, the creation of which was made possible by computer scientists and electronic engineers at Newcastle University and their role in the worldwide adoption of asynchronous microprocessor chips. Financial traders now rely on these fast and powerful chips when analysing vast quantities of data and making split-second decisions on major deals.

Wall Street sign in New York City

Video games

The Game Lab at Newcastle University works with the video games industry on research related to gaming technology. Current projects include developing physics-based synthetic character motion, which enables characters to react to being pushed, for example.

The lab also supplies the industry with talented graduates ready to take on the challenge of video game development. Three 2018 graduates landed jobs working on highly anticipated titles from the Lego franchise, including Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game.

Neon "Gaming" sign

Stroke awareness ads

Quick action is vital to limit the damage a stroke can do. That’s why Professor Gary Ford, as part of a major national campaign, helped to develop the Act FAST key to help members of the public spot strokes. The acronym was created to warn people of the common signs to check for. Symptoms included were facial drooping (F), arm weakness (A) and speech difficulties (S). The campaign concluded with a call to action – if people see these symptoms it’s time (T) to call the emergency services.

Sugary snacks

Research carried out by Professor Paula Moynihan of Nutrition and Oral Health at Newcastle University was instrumental in a move by the World Health Organization to halve the recommended maximum amount of sugar people should consume daily. Our research found that when free sugars make up less than 10% of calories in people’s diets, there are much lower levels of tooth decay. Reducing the amount still further, to below 5% (about half a can of regular coke) has additional dental health benefits.

Glazed doughnut on a pink background, both covered in sprinkles.