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About Us

What are our Global Research Priorities?

Our Global Research Priorities (GRPs) unite researchers to tackle pressing global issues.

They create challenge-focused communities, bringing together and supporting researchers from many different disciplines. From energy to health to sustainability, our ten GRPs address some of the planet's biggest challenges.

We have close partnerships with third parties, such as policy makers, charities and industry. We provide seed funding for projects, and facilitate networking opportunities and other research-related events through the year.

What are our areas of research?

Our research is focused on four themes:

Planetary Habitability

We consider the requirements for life on Earth, the possibility of its replication on other Solar System planets and exoplanets, and the connected ethical implications. Where can life persist? What makes a habitable environment on Earth physically and sociologically, and how are those environments changing? How does human action and interaction influence those changes?

Natural Resources

The ready supply of natural resources is a crucial element of habitability on planet Earth and elsewhere. But what counts as a 'ready supply'? And who gets to decide? The answers depends on the value we place on different resources, which in turn depends on our belief systems and ways of life. This theme integrates scientific approaches to the study of natural resources with those from global history, science studies, and the environmental humanities.

Life at the Extremes

Extremophiles are organisms that thrive in extreme environments, such as high pressure or temperature. Can we utilise extremophile bacteria for biotechnology processes? How can the hazards and risks of extreme events be judged and mitigated? What scientific formulations of hazard and risk are presented/negotiated within mass cultural forms such as disaster films?

Representing Totalities

We are investigating the way we understand ‘the global’ and ‘the planetary’. We are currently in the ‘Anthropocene’ period, this is the geological age in which human activity has been the dominant influence on our climate and environment. How is this new age being presented in mass culture?

Why habitability?

Our planet’s natural environment is declining, global temperatures are rising and natural disasters are increasing in frequency. We are seeing more and more about climate change on our television screens, in the blockbuster cinema and in political campaigns. At the same time scientists are discovering more about the wider solar system and exoplanets that orbit other stars. Some of these planets could house life similar to that on Earth.

Our GRP brings together these issues and asks where can life survive and how can it flourish? We focus on the cultural, political, ethical and scientific implications of life on and beyond Earth.

Who is involved?

We are a network of researchers from varied departments across Warwick. Our academics co-leads are split between the Arts and Science faculties in Physics, Film & Television studies, Life Sciences and History.