Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 29th January 2018

UKRi’s infrastructure roadmap launch

On Monday 22 Jan, UKRI launched their infrastructure roadmap at the Royal Society. The new UK Science Minister, Sam Gyimah, opened the launch with several positive commitments to research and innovation. He explained that UKRI should aspire to provide a “strategic brain” for research funding, looking right across the UK landscape. As such, the infrastructure roadmap will survey the state of the UK’s research and innovation infrastructure, and use this mapping to inform the prioritisation of future investments. His full speech can be found here and UKRI will be publishing further information about the first phase of the roadmap shortly.
Be the Spark – HE/FE Entrepreneurship Forum

be the spark1On Thursday, Unis Wales attended Be the Spark’s HE-FE Entrepreneurship Forum at University of South Wales, Newport. The event brought together HE and FE institutions to share best practice and help develop greater collaboration and saw a range of contributions from speakers on entrepreneurship, innovation, SME support and start-ups.

The event was opened by speakers including the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Alun Davies AM, Professor Julie Lydon OBE, and Professor Simon Gibson CBE.




Peter Halligan named new Welsh Government Chief Scientific Adviser

First Minister Carwyn Jones has appointed internationally renowned psychologist and neuroscientist, Professor Peter Halligan, to the post of Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales.

As Wales’ chief scientific adviser, Professor Halligan will provide independent scientific advice to the First Minister and lead the development of the Welsh Government’s science policy. He will also work to promote the study of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine to help build a strong science base in Wales.

We congratulate Professor Halligan on the appointment, and look forward to continued work and cooperation with the office of the Chief Scientific Adviser.


We’ll be launching our latest study into the impact of Welsh universities on the economy, jobs and communities on the 31st January. The report will be available on our website following the launch, but to receive a copy directly, email


The Conversation Showcase: Articles published by academics at Welsh universities this week:
How the Doomsday Clock could help trigger the armageddon it warns of (Aber)

Ursula K Le Guin’s strong female voice challenged the norms of a male-dominated genre (Cardiff Met)

How the mothers of dead soldiers may be what reins in Vladimir Putin’s ambitions (Aber)

New real-time tsunami early warning system calculates size and distance using underwater sound waves (Cardiff – new research)

How to improve your running? Smiling boosts efficiency, researchers find (Swansea – new research)

Wealth, danger and other factors can change your preference for long-term or casual relationships (Swansea – new research)

Plastic ban isn’t enough so let’s take another look at personal carbon accounts (Aber)

Political Update

  • Unis Wales attended an event hosted by finance Secretary Mark Drakeford in Nantgarw last week which bought together organisations and businesses to discuss regional investment after Brexit.
  • Kirsty Williams has welcomed Estyn’s annual report as “further evidence that Wales’ education system is uniting in a mission of self-improvement”. The full report is available here.
  • Ann Evans has been reappointed as Chair of Qualification Wales.
  • Lee Waters (Llanelli): Will the First Minister establish a unit to explore how Wales can harness artificial intelligence and automation? (Question 6; 14:02) Chair of Unis Wales Prof Julie Lydon wrote for the IWA winter issue on the role of universities in meeting the challenges and opportunities of automation –