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Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 25 November 2016

Welsh Government responds to the Diamond Review

On 22 November, Welsh Government published their plans following the recommendations made by Sir Ian Diamond in the Review of student support and higher education funding in Wales. A summary of their plans can be found here and the consultation on support funding for students resident in Wales is now open.

Universities Wales welcomed this further commitment to finding a sustainable solution for both students and universities in Wales. Our full statement can be found here.

New HEFCW Report confirms strong performance by Welsh research base

International Comparative Performance of the Welsh Research Base 2010-2014, 2016 update was published by HEFCW on 21 November. The report shows the average number of citations for publications from researchers in Wales has increased since 2011 while Welsh researchers are collaborating more internationally.

The report found that the Welsh research base – comprising universities and other organisations engaged in research – continued to be highly productive and efficient, outranking many comparator countries of similar size. In particular, the report noted that in 2014:

  • Welsh publications were cited 68% more often than the world average – increase of 9 percentage points since 2011
  • The average number of citations per published researcher in Wales increased to 9.6 in 2010-14 – two points above the UK average
  • One in ten research papers from Wales ended up in the top 5% of most cited publications worldwide

Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said:

“This is an encouraging and timely representation of the quality of our research. We are pleased to have been able to play our part in growing and strengthening the research base by being the biggest single funder of university research in Wales. We believe this success also reflects the additional investment from the Welsh Government’s Sêr Cymru programme to boost the number of researchers in STEM areas.

“Welsh higher education continues to be highly efficient. In fact, Wales receives more citations per one million dollar equivalent of research investment than any other comparator country.

“Nearly half of Wales’s research papers were co-authored with a researcher from outside the UK. International collaboration is often associated with high citation impact, so we are pleased to see this this figure increase and these vital international partnerships continue.”

Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, said:

“I am delighted that researchers in Wales are showing even greater levels of efficiency, producing high quality research which impacts nationally and internationally. Our researchers are punching above their weight addressing issues of global significance including climate change, green energy, dementia, mental health, cancer precision medicine, materials, nanotechnology and big data.”