Various images from the top ten Edinburgh Impact stories of 2022.

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The top ten Edinburgh Impact stories of 2022

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Featuring reflections on some of the year's biggest stories - Ukraine, the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II - and tales on a more human scale, as seen by our community.

As 2022 draws to a close, we wanted to share a selection of our stories that have had the most impact this year.

The following articles have been selected based upon their resonance with our readers, our writers and our editors. It is presented in no particular order.

These ten features are a snapshot of the events and issues that have dominated the world in 2022 – some global in scope, others at a more human scale. It also shows the ways in which the University of Edinburgh community met such challenges through their ideas, expertise, research and actions.

We hope you enjoy and you will continue to share in our Edinburgh Impact in 2023 and beyond.

Why talking more about periods benefits everyone

A crippling taboo still hangs over periods. Women are constantly adjusting their lives in the face of a society that remains uncomfortable with menstruation, leaving many unsupported and isolated. Dr Jackie Maybin of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health believes this has to change.

Image of woman's pants with period

A low-cost lifesaver

Childbirth is never risk-free, particularly in poorer or disadvantaged countries where restricted access to modern equipment can have a devastating impact. Ingenuity of Edinburgh graduate Arfang Faye is attempting to redress that balance.

Portrait of Arfang Faye in a white lab coat

The unfinished business of colonialism

How do you return ancestral remains looted during the height of the British Empire in a way that brings genuine healing? A project involving Naga artefacts is underway to do just that.

The unfinished business of colonialism

Illustration of a Naga warriors in Assam, 1903.

Why are we afraid to talk about our ageing workforce?

Working into later life is now a reality for most of us. But a longer working life doesn’t necessarily mean a healthier one. Professor Wendy Loretto wants to improve job quality and options for workers over 50.

Crowd of people walking through a street

Edinburgh Cares Mentoring Programme

Only four per cent of care-experienced young people go on to university after school. Led by the Widening Participation team, a group of staff are mentoring such young people to support their journey through higher education and tackle inequalities.

Staff in conversation at ISG reception LGBT+

How Russia’s upside down, looking-glass worldview is driving the Ukrainian war

Paranoia, rising authoritarianism and revitalised imperialism are combining with devastating effect in the Russian political realm. Putin’s dangerous, alternative reality has led to atrocities in Ukraine – and it might not stop there, says Professor Luke March of the Princess Dashkova Russian Centre.

Vladimir Putin addresses Red Square

Life beyond our planet

Could humans live on the Moon and Mars? Professor of Astrobiology Charles Cockell is, with the help of prisoners, on a mission to answer how we might survive the extreme and confined conditions of space settlement.

The design of a Mars space station by prisoners taking part in Life Beyond

The Queen helped turn the ruins of British Empire into a force for good

The British Empire was brutal, humiliating and unwelcome for many, yet, under Queen Elizabeth II’s guidance, the Commonwealth helped bring some healing in its wake, argues Dr Harshan Kumarasingham, senior lecturer in British politics.

The Queen with leaders of the Commonwealth

The UK is 280 million years late for a fracking boom

Why lifting the ban on shale gas exploration is contradicted by geological knowledge, public opinion, and climate change action, according to Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage.

Pipes lie in front of fracking well

Revisiting the crucifixion

Two thousand years of retelling the Easter story may have obscured some fascinating details. Professor Helen Bond asks, is it time to reassess the archvillains of the crucifixion and see Jesus’ women followers as the key to this pivotal historical event?

A woman takes Jesus down from the cross