How we could revolutionise our future

New ideas in areas including programming biological cells as if they were a computer and how 3D printing could protect the world’s cultural heritage will be covered at a series of talks at Newcastle University.

The ‘Future of’ series of talks will run over the next nine weeks and will involve experts at Newcastle University discussing the innovations that could address some of the biggest challenges facing society.

Taking place as part of Newcastle University’s Inspired by Great Exhibition of the North programme, the series starts on Thursday 5 July looking at the changes we need to make to our cities to avoid the type of flooding Newcastle experienced in June 2012, the infamous ‘Toon Monsoon’. The ‘Future of Flooding’ will involve researchers from Newcastle University, Durham University and the Environment Agency talking about the latest research in this area and its potential applications.

Professor Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs, Newcastle University, said: “The Great Exhibition provides a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how innovations being developed here in the North – whether they are in the medical, science and engineering or arts and culture spheres – promise to change the way we live in the future. This series of talks will cover a fascinating range of topics and I’d urge people to come along to learn more.”

Other talks in the series include ‘The Future of Nature: Engineering living systems with synthetic biology’, which will take place on Thursday 12 July when researchers from Newcastle University will discuss how new solutions in fields such as healthcare and energy could be engineered by programming living cells as if they were a computer.

This will be followed by talks focusing on how we might develop an economically viable model of sustainable housing for all, how technology is being used to safeguard the world’s cultural heritage for future generations and developments in future transport. The series will conclude on Thursday 6 September with a look at how drug development is adapting to meet the health challenges likely to dominate in an ageing population.

Each of the ‘Future of’ talks takes place 6.30pm – 8.30pm in the Boiler House, King’s Road, Newcastle University. All of the discussions are free to attend, although places are limited and must be reserved in advance. For booking details and information about the University’s full ‘Inspired By’ programme, visit

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