At the launch event (l-r): Professor Jane Millar, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Bath; Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University; Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism; Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Exeter; Professor Sir Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol
26 November 2014
An alliance designed to boost research and innovation in Wales and South West England held its Welsh launch last night.
The GW4 Alliance brings together the universities of Cardiff, Bath, Bristol and Exeter to tackle some of the most pressing social and economic challenges by harnessing their research strengths for local, national and global benefit.
Economy and Science Minister, Edwina Hart, said: ‘Innovation and research is a vital driver for economic growth and creating jobs. By working in partnership and sharing facilities, expertise and best practice universities can deliver even better research and results. I am very pleased that the Welsh Government is supporting the GW4 Alliance, which will play an important role in helping us meet our ambition for delivering world class research in Wales.’
Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University and Chair of GW4’s Council, added: ‘By pooling research expertise and sharing facilities, equipment and other resources, GW4 aims to reach beyond what one university could do.
‘We are powering innovation and driving growth in Wales and working with our neighbours in the South West to provide the critical mass and the quality to succeed in an increasingly competitive and research-intensive environment.’
GW4 has already succeeded in bringing the UK’s largest Natural Environmental Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership to the region, which is providing 200 studentships for the next generation of environmental scientists. It involves GW4 institutions along with partners such as National Botanical Garden of Wales, National Museum of Wales, Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales and Cynnal Cymru.
The Alliance is set to receive £8 million from the BBSRC for the South West Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising GW4 universities and the world renowned agricultural institute Rothamstead Research. This funding will provide 114 studentships over five years to tackle challenges such as agriculture and food security.
GW4 has also provided more than £650,000 to 35 projects through its Building Communities programme covering areas such as dementia and mine waste.
GW4 is an alliance that combines the intellectual capacity and physical resources of the four leading research-intensive universities in the South West of England and Wales: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.
It builds leading cross-institutional research communities whose cumulative impact is enhanced through collaboration and develops strategic partnerships with industry, governments, the arts and civil society. All four universities are in the top one per cent of institutions in the world and have a combined turnover well in excess of £1 billion.