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Phosphine detected in Venus' atmosphere

On 14 September 2020, a team of astronomers led by Dr Jane Greaves of Cardiff University announced the detection of phosphine, a potential biomarker, in the atmosphere of Venus. On Earth, phosphine can result from natural processes such as lightning and volcanic activity, but only in small amounts; by comparison, the amount of phosphine detected in Venus' atmosphere is relatively large. The only known processes that produce phosphine on Earth in similar quantities are biological in origin.

It must be stressed that this does not mean that there is life on Venus. What has been announced is a signal that is a possible sign of life, with a strength for which there are no plausible known abiotic explanations. There may, of course, be currently unknown methods of producing it in the amounts required. But this is still an exciting signal that warrants more investigation.

Thu 08 Oct 2020, 12:00 | Tags: news, Astrobiology, astronomy, Venus, phosphine, biomarkers

Habitability GRP internal funding call

Innovative Manufacturing & Future Materials and all Global Research Priorities would like to invite colleagues to apply for internal funding to support activities.

GRPs aim to connect and support interdisciplinary research across the University, including in the following areas:

  • Explore, examine, demonstrate or participate in innovative activities during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Secure ongoing collaborations to keep research buoyant into the future
  • Investment in the future of an element(s) of the Global Research Priority Programme which has future focus in some other way

Follow the title link to apply.

Fri 24 Apr 2020, 10:00 | Tags: news, funding, GRP

New Habitability GRP

We are delighted to announce that Habitability has been selected as one of Warwick's Global Research Priorities (GRPs), which play a crucial role in interdisciplinary research at the University. The GRPs respond to complex multi-faceted global problems that can only be tackled through collaborative research excellence. They unite academics from different disciplines to address some of humanity’s most urgent questions, and create fertile ground for new ideas to flourish and interdisciplinary research to grow - enabling us to improve the lives of people around the world.

The four key themes of the GRP are outlined here. There are a number of funding opportunities for relevant research projects - see here for further detail.


Panspermia's a Winner at Posters in Parliament

CEH member James Blake won the award for Best Poster at the 2018 Posters in Parliament competition, hosted by the University of Sheffield. Over 50 students were selected from institutions across the UK and tasked with presenting undergraduate research. James' research on lithopanspermia, the theory that life can hop from place to place throughout the Universe aboard asteroids and comets, managed to capture the judges' imagination.

Poster available here


University Research Centre

As of the 28th of June 2017, the Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability has been established as a University of Warwick Research Centre. Thank you to all members of the CEH who have contributed to our work so far, and who helped to make this a reality.


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