This is Lancaster Podcast. Global research tales from the North of England.
Researchers share the stories, setbacks and discoveries behind the headlines.
Here at Lancaster University, we bring people together to deliver solutions to complex problems, both in our region and around the world.
At the heart of Lancaster's research endeavour, our experts are working in partnership with others to make a difference. In this series of interviews, Lancaster University researchers share the stories, setbacks and discoveries behind the headlines and provide an in-depth look at some of the truly life-changing work taking place in our University.
An unfair business: Lancaster University's Work Foundation is tackling inequality in the world of work
The UK may be experiencing record levels of employment, but for millions work remains insecure, poorly paid and unsustainable. Ben Harrison, Director of Lancaster University’s Work Foundation discusses why their mission is as important today as it was 100 years ago, and how at Lancaster we’re pushing for positive changes in employment policy and practice.Listen on Spotify: An Unfair Business
Blue Skies science tackles forest fires
From exploring the raw beauty of the Northern Lights and a passionate belief in the pursuit of scientific knowledge for its own sake, space scientist Professor Michael Kosch takes us on a dazzling journey through his career filled with excitement, discovery, and adventure. Tune in to hear how space weather experts harnessed knowledge of theoretical physics and turned it into an extraordinary social and economic good when they produced a spin-out company capable of detecting a smoke plume as small as a BBQ 10 miles away in a forest, saving billions of pounds worth of trees and Carbon Dioxide.Listen on Spotify: Blue Skies science tackles forest fires
Families at the sharp edge of justice
Social Scientist and former social worker, Professor Karen Broadhurst, shares why she stepped into academia to 'change the world'.
Families at the sharp edge - in this episode social scientist and former social worker Professor Karen Broadhurst of Lancaster University describes how she stepped into academia to 'change the world' for women and children in the justice system. 'When we take a child out of a family and a community what kind of a scar does that leave?' Professor Broadhurst and her colleagues are making the case for better help and justice for struggling families, so that fewer children need to come into care.Listen on Spotify: Families at the Sharp Edge of Justice
Your brain on sugar
Find out how sugar affects the brain and can even affect how well children learn at school, based on the research of psychology professor Sandra Sunram-Lea.
Professor Sandra-Ilona Sunram-Lea explains why a “sugar rush” is bad for mental alertness and may lead to diabetes type 2. She has identified the “sweet spot” of optimal blood glucose for health without peaks and troughs. Her work sheds light on the impact of sugar in our diet, whether breakfast cereals or sugary drinks – and her research has even influenced the drinks industry to reduce the amount of sugar in some of its products.Listen on Spotify: Sugar Highs and the Human Brain
Meet the researchers pioneering improvements to end of life.
Seeing patients die without the best in palliative care inspired former nurse Professor Nancy Preston to seek ways of improving end-of-life care for the terminally ill and their families. Talking to her colleague – also a former nurse - Professor Sheila Payne, the pair discuss their pioneering work which sets out to make “a good death” available to every patient by offering proper pain management and support for both the dying and their families.Listen on Spotify: A Good Death
‘He’s not what you expect him to be’. Life-lessons gleaned from one of England's best-known poets.
From the benefits of getting out of the house and into nature, to his thoughts on the place of poetry in response to tyranny, Professors Sally Bushell and Simon Bainbridge of Lancaster University’s Wordsworth Centre share the lessons they have learned from William Wordsworth - a poet they both came to appreciate ...despite some early hesitation.Listen on Spotify: Discovering Wordsworth
Caught Red Handed
From identifying the dead to catching the perpetrators of abuse, Professor Dame Sue Black has pioneered research techniques that could change the way we investigate and prosecute serious crime.
Professor Dame Sue Black explains how the astonishing bravery of a child sexual abuse survivor led her on a path to developing pioneering research into forensic hand analysis that would stand up in court. Thanks to Professor Black and her team, Lancaster University is now home to the world’s largest searchable database of the anatomy and variations of the human hand and their work is set to make a difference to those attempting to bring abusers to justice. Here she offers a fascinating glimpse of her research career and talks about her plans for the future.Listen on Spotify: Caught Red Handed
NHS staff in crisis
As stress levels for NHS staff reach an all-time high “far beyond the need for mindfulness and yoga”, Professor Michael West from Lancaster University says there’s a need to change workplace culture and conditions to retain the staff it has, to help fill the 100,000 vacancies across NHS Trusts and to improve the quality of patient care. In this episode, Professor West talks about the workforce crisis plaguing the NHS and how his research, which saw the NHS staff survey introduced back in 2003, is helping to reshape leadership teams across the NHS and improve patient care.Listen on Spotify: Transforming the NHS
Racing the Virus
The impact of losing livestock to disease in his rural childhood in Punjab, Pakistan gave Professor Mohammed Munir an early insight into the devastating impact of infectious diseases and sparked a lifelong fascination with virology. From studying Coronavirus in bats in Brazil to developing a nasal spray vaccine to combat COVID-19, Professor Munir explains that with hundreds of animal viruses in circulation, and human activities encroaching on wildlife, understanding the spread of viruses has never been so important.Listen on Spotify: Racing the Virus
Inside the Amazon
‘Ten thousand little pieces of me have been broken’ Lancaster University's Dr Erika Berenguer gives a deeply personal account of observing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest – a region full of mystery that inspired a scientific career dedicated to understanding and protecting this crucial tropical ecosystem.Listen on Spotify: Inside the Amazon