Image credit: Reef Rehab © Ines Lange

This Spring term the University of Exeter’s Queen’s Building display space hosts a selection of captivating new photographs from the Images of Research Competition 2022.

Championing the breadth of research happening at the University, the display features 24 photographs which explore a diverse range of research areas, including climate change, children’s play during the pandemic, atmospheric rivers and beaver reintroduction.

In the Summer of 2022 Early Career Research staff were invited by the Researcher Development and Research Culture team, based in the University’s Doctoral College, to submit images for the competition which showcase their research to a non-specialist audience. The competition entries were judged back in September 2022 and three winning entries were picked.

The first prize was won by Ines Lange’s from the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy (Streatham campus) for Reef Rehab. Coral reefs around the world are suffering from the effects of climate change, pollution, and destructive fishing practices. Reef restoration can be an effective tool to improve coral reef health at a local level, but only if done well and with the involvement of local communities. Ines visited the incredibly successful Mars Assisted Reef Restoration Site (MARRS) in Indonesia to investigate if restored reefs can provide similar levels of functions compared to nearby healthy reefs. The project, carried out by a fantastic Indonesian team and based on scientific evidence and monitoring, suggests that not all hope for reefs is lost.

Second prize went to Luis Huckstadt from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (Penryn) for Crabeater Seals from the Sky. Scientists are using satellite tracking, whole-organism biology, remote sensing, and drones to understand how climate change is impacting crabeater seals in Antarctica. Luis studies seals as they haul out on ice floes to assess their health status and body condition, collect samples to study their ecology and physiology, and take photos with a drone to later being able to easily measure wild seals remotely without having to handle them.

Third prize went to Rachel Nesbit from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (St Luke’s campus), for Pandemic Play. During the pandemic Rachel worked with the Museum of English Rural Life to create an archive of play during the pandemic to capture children’s experience for future generations. Her powerful image shows how children use play to understand and make sense of the world around them.

As well as being hosted in the Queen’s Building display space this spring term, the winning photographs were also exhibited in the Forum on the University’s Streatham campus and the Environment and Sustainability Institute on the University’s Penryn campus in Cornwall.

Becky Euesden, Engaged Research and Communications Officer at the University of Exeter said, “collectively, the University of Exeter produces a huge amount of high-quality research. Signs of this research may be apparent in the press – or if you look more closely, in everyday life – however actually what goes on behind closed doors and further afield, can feel somewhat of a mystery. If you think of all the individual research projects undertaken at any one time as a pebbly beach, the Images of Research of Competition 2022 seeks to turn over a selection of those pebbles to shine a light on these projects. The display provides some fascinating insights into our research, giving a sense of the breadth of the work we undertake.”

The Images of Research Competition 2022 will be presented at the Queen’s Building display space located in the West Wing Foyer of the Queen’s Building on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus from Wednesday 11 January – Friday 29 March 2023.

Find out more about the Queen’s Building display space here.