Research Features – Issue 142: Water pirates, STARFISH, and rural Mexico

The newest issue of Research Features is now out, featuring scientists and researchers that refuse to accept the status quo. From Italian scientists who want to shake up bioenergetics, to the newly developed STARFISH app which can radically change how we build green homes.

Upstream water piracy is having devastating effects on downstream economies, environments and livelihoods in Bangladesh, while in Mexico it appears that rural populations would rather stay put than migrate.

Ending on a positive note, a recent study indicates that an integrative, patient-centric approach to cancer treatments can improve breast cancer patients’ quality of life, and odds of survival.


The STARfish app: New sustainable design tool to aid net-positive sustainability outcomes

A newly designed app that wants to aim for net-positive design when designing new buildings, rather than simply accepting ‘zero harm’ as good enough. An innovative new app that is, in effect, a collaborative game, challenges you to build the most sustainable design possible. Why not try it yourself?

A new way of understanding bioenergetics

Move over mitochondria, there’s another energy producer in town. We may all ‘know’ that ‘mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell’, but recent research seems to turn this idea on its head.

Countering co-optation: Keeping the ‘alternative’ in alternative organising

When counter-cultural economic movements get adopted by the very systems they were protesting, how do they carry on being ‘alternative’? Maintaining their principles in the face of co-optation is what this research aims to help with.


Two women are outlined against a blurred background. The black woman on the left is holding a caucasian woman's hand high in the air, in a defiant gesture.
The AlterEcos project offers a thorough and nuanced assessment of the potential for alternative organising. Jacob Lund/

Integrative oncology: Improving survival odds in breast cancer

Treating cancer patients as people highlights how important it is to have access to complementary therapies which help treat patients’ spiritual, mental and physical well-being. These include nutrition counselling, Tai Chi, music therapy and many more.

Exercising the ‘right to stay home’: Persistent rurality in Mexico

Why a large proportion of Mexico’s rural population is choosing to stay home rather than migrate to the US. This is in spite of predictions to the complete opposite.

Upstream water piracy threatens communities and environments

How denying access to a basic resource is affecting far more than just the river itself. Barrages and dams impact downstream populations in a dangerous way, causing job loss and migration, as well as environmental damage.

A flooded town, with a yellow building at its centre. Professor Miah Adel examines upstream water piracy and its consequences for downstream communities, as well as its environmental impact.

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