Ending world hunger
Beacon Director: Professor David Salt
How do we feed a growing population in a changing world? By 2050 there will be two billion extra people on the planet – we need smart solutions today to secure the future of food. In the face of climate change, we must develop new resilient crops and increase yields. Against a growing prevalence of pollutants and over-processed food, we must create healthier, safer and more nutritious foods for all countries. World-class science drives our approach to this challenge. We have unrivalled expertise across the food chain – from soil to molecule to meal – placing us in an invaluable position to develop solutions to feed the world.
Creating a slavery-free world
Beacon Director: Professor Zoe Trodd
It's easy to think slavery has been consigned to the pages of history. Yet there are 46 million people enslaved around the world today. A world without slavery is within reach, with a global political commitment to end slavery by 2030. We're at the forefront of this fight, home to the world's leading experts on contemporary slavery. Our approach fuses cutting-edge research with real world applications, using multidisciplinary methods and techniques to design innovative new solutions, from mapping slavery from space to achieving the world's first slavery-free city. Our work with governments and NGOs will ensure we can achieve the Freedom Dividend – a safer, greener, more prosperous and equal world when slavery is brought to an end.
Beacon Director: Professor Dorothee Auer
Over 40 years ago, an idea that originated in a physics lab on University Park, changed the medical world beyond recognition. As the home of MRI, our internationally-leading reputation in biomedical imaging places us in a unique position to develop the imaging tools of tomorrow. Unprecedented insights provided by our precision imaging will enable a revolution in personalised healthcare, where diagnosis and treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual. By focusing on the healthcare challenges with the biggest impact on our societies, we'll transform diagnosis and outcomes for patients across the world, leading to the development of personalised therapies across a range of diseases and mental health issues.
Developing tomorrow's transport systems
Beacon Director: Professor David Grant
Transport is on the cusp of a revolution. Against mounting economic and environmental pressures, we need to identify new ways of moving people and goods to end our dependency on conventional fuel systems. It's about making transport green – and electrified propulsion is the game changer for a new era for transport. We're already global specialists in sustainable materials, electrification and transport technologies, placing us at the forefront of the drive to develop the materials, components and technologies for the vehicles of tomorrow. Our discoveries will make possible the greatest transformation of transport in the modern age.
Securing a sustainable future
Beacon Director: Professor Alex Conradie
Green chemistry and the global economy may seem like unlikely bedfellows. But we believe the next global industrial revolution will be driven by a step-change in how we make the materials and goods that drive the modern economy. It's about seeing the bigger picture – smarter at each step of the process from atom to product. Harnessing the power of the genome is key, reprogramming microorganisms to generate materials at a cellular level. Utilising our world-leading expertise in metabolic engineering and sustainable chemistry, our cutting-edge biotechnology platform will support governments and industries across the world to transform energy-intensive fossil-fuel reliant economies into the low-carbon societies of the future.
Driving the next digital revolution
Beacon Director: Professor Steve Benford
We're in the midst of a digital revolution, with technologies enhancing the way we live, work, play and travel. The unprecedented pace of change in our digital world demands a profoundly new approach to how we create, manufacture and use products. Bringing together our experts in informatics, creative design and industrial technologies, our scope is far-reaching – from designing smart products to answering ethical questions surrounding interactivity and use of data. Our programme of powerful discovery will redefine our relationship with technologies and build better-connected societies, responding to our digital world with the speed and agility we need.