Our research

Our research spans all scales of biological organisation from molecules to global ecosystems.  We pride ourselves on seamlessly combining curiousity-driven science with applied research; the latter ranging from biofuels to conservation. We are highly interactive, with extensive collaborations within biosciences and with other departments.

We are located on the University’s Streatham campus in Exeter and the Penryn campus near Falmouth (Cornwall), with 110 academic staff evenly distributed across both campuses.  Some members of Biosciences are located in the interdisciplinary Livings Systems Institute at Exeter and the Environment and Sustainability Institute at Penryn.  The LSI, a £52M investment which opened in 2016, focuses on the study of biological processes underlying disease, and houses 25 principal investigators across biology, physics and mathematics. The ESI leads research into solutions to problems of environmental change, improving people's relationships with the environment.  It opened in 2012 with a £28M investment from European Regional Development Funds, and houses 25 academics from biology, geography, engineering, geochemistry, maths and politics.

Our research is funded through RCUK, the European Union, Royal Society, Welcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, DEFRA, DSTL and industry, and we earned £20.8M in research grant funding in the 2016/17 financial year. Ten staff currently hold ERC grants. Our PhD programmes are supported through our membership of the BBSRC SWBio DTP, NERC GW4+, NERC FRESH CDT and MRC GW4 BioMed DTP. Our diverse funding portfolio supports a vibrant community of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and independent research fellows. 

We are supported by excellent bioimaging, DNA sequencing, mass spectrometry and NMR facilities, isotope ratio mass spectrometers/elemental analysers, state-of-the-art aquarium facilities, plant growth facilities, extensive animal tracking facilities, a drone lab and a level 3 pathogen containment laboratory. Our researchers are at the forefront of novel imaging techniques and the application of microfluidics to biology. Through the GW4 Alliance of Universities, we have access to additional research facilities, including cryoEM.

Our Penryn research groups