New Briefing: The case for investment in Welsh research

With the end of Wales’ access to EU structural funds fast approaching, and the need to boost the economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, investment in Welsh research has never been more important than it is now.

Universities play a vital role in developing a high-skilled workforce and providing the innovation to drive economic growth. Welsh Universities generate about £5bn a year, almost 50,000 jobs, and are important catalysts for regional development.

It is with this in mind that the Sêr Cymru Research Networks (Life Sciences, Advanced Engineering, and Low Carbon Energy and Environment) have come together to publish a joint briefing on the need for investment into the Welsh research landscape.

Today provided the networks an opportunity to discuss the briefing with Chief Scientific Advisor for Wales, Professor Peter Halligan, in a first step toward laying out a vision for the future of networking and research in Wales.

You can find the full briefing below, as well as on our resources page along with our other major policy related documents.

Briefing: The case for investment in Welsh research

Prof Julia P G Jones Upcoming Presentation

Network director, Professor Jones, will be presenting at the Policy Forum for Wales event on Friday 14th of March.

Westminster Forum Projects (WFP) has its origins in the UK national Parliament, but its work now extends to policy decided in UK devolved Parliaments and Assemblies, the Oireachtas, and the European Commission and Parliament.

WFP currently offers 16 influential, impartial and cross-party forums, including the Policy Forum for Wales. The forums organise senior-level conferences on a wide range of public policy areas.

Prof Jones is due to speak at the upcoming forum conference, titled Next steps for R&D in Wales – funding, developing collaboration between Welsh HEIs, raising the international profile, and contributing to economic recovery.

This conference will examine next steps for R&D and international research partnerships in Wales.

Areas for discussion include:

  • funding – including securing an equitable share for Wales of the UK government’s increased investment in R&D
  • collaboration – improving joint working between universities in Wales, including in knowledge exchange as well as bids for research projects and funding
  • place – ensuring that the benefits of Welsh R&D address regional and local priorities, as well as improving links between researchers, policymakers, businesses and research funders
  • research skills and infrastructure – developing understanding, the evidence base, and strategies for building up assets to underpin a vibrant and effective Welsh R&D system
  • COVID-19 – harnessing R&D for post-pandemic economic and social recovery in Wales
  • Welsh R&D on the world stage – how visibility in the international research landscape can be grown, and next steps for international partnerships

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the Welsh Government; Senedd Cymru; Cadw; the IPO; the FSA; BEIS; Defra; and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory; as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the Plaid Cymru Westminster Group.

Julia’s ttttalk is titled ‘The central role of R&D in delivering a green recovery’, and will be taking a look at how research can underpin the economic recovery in Wales.

Keynote speakes include Professor Graeme Reid – Chair, Science and Research Policy, University College London and Author, Review of Government Funded Research and Innovation in Wales – and Professor Julie Lydon – Vice-Chancellor, University of South Wales and Chair, Universities Wales.

You can purchase tickets to the event and get more details at event website below:

https://www.policyforumforwales.co.uk/conference/Next-steps-for-Research-and-Development-in-Wales-2021

Small Nation, Big Ideas – COP26 EOI

The network has put forward a case for showcasing leading science from across the Welsh research institutions on a global stage. You can now download the full document.

March has been off to a busy start for the network.

We would like to welcome the new network manager, Rhys Bowley, who has joined the team this month. Rhys comes from a background in product and project management, working as both part of and partner to academic research projects in engineering for most of his career.

The first output of this new phase for the network has been to submit an Expression of Interest outlining what the network would like to exhibit at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, November 2021. We want to extend our thanks for all the amazing contributions that went into the proposal, which resulted in a compelling portfolio of excellent research from across Wales. You can view and download the full document in Welsh and English using the button below.

We’re Back!… Rebooting the Network

The Sêr Cymru Low Carbon Energy and Environment Research Network Wales is back under way once more, with new funding and a new ambition.

Exciting work is underway to carry the network forward into a new phase!

The original network ran from 2013 to 2019, helping researchers leverage over £33 million of competitive funding for Welsh institutions. The network is starting up again with a new scope under the leadership of Prof Julia P. G. Jones. The second phase is being supported by Sêr Cymru II, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government.

In a recent press release Professor Jones said “I am delighted to be leading this vitally important research network which is tackling some of the most important challenges faced by our planet. The work done during the first phase shows how world-leading environmental science here in Wales is, and I’m looking forward to working closely with partner universities, the Welsh Government and other stakeholders in taking the network forward.”

You can read the full press release here.

Starting up today on March 1st 2021, is an excellent time to turn our attention to the major events coming up in year. With only a few days between the network restarting and the deadline for submissions, the first action of this new phase will be to submit an Expression of Interest outlining what the network would like to exhibit at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, November 2021. Deadlines for EOIs are March 5th, with responses due in May.