Today marks the launch of a new portal – www.researchwales.ac.uk – that will showcase some of the shining examples of how Welsh universities advance the world around us.
Be it the vital contribution they make to our economy, the help they provide in saving patient’s lives through better healthcare and more efficient use of resources, or expertise in projects providing a significant boost to our native food industry; through the transformational power of research our universities are actively engaged in meeting the challenges facing modern Welsh society.
The central role that university research can play in driving economic growth is demonstrated through a university-industry collaboration with Tata Steel, which resulted in resistant metallic coatings being sold across the world to prestigious conglomerates such as General Electric and Tokyo Electric Power. With the project supporting hundreds of manufacturing jobs and creating a healthy talent flow from university into industry, this is testament to how research work can be a key economic driver that is not only to the benefit of academia, but to businesses and wider society in Wales.
In the field of healthcare, an intervention called ‘cognitive stimulation therapy’ is being used to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia in Wales. Described by one patient’s family as “being a lifeline for us”, not only has the ground-breaking research improved the quality of life of patients who suffer from one of the scourges of modern society, but it has also saved the NHS some £54.9 million per annum nationwide.
And in a world of increasing concern over food security, using an initial £3.9 million investment from the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the Knowledge, Innovation and Technology Exchange has impacted positively on many areas of food manufacture and resulted in £27 million of increased sales, £540k of waste reduction within processing and the creation and safeguarding of over 1000 jobs.
A recent independent evaluation report by Elsevier on research conducted by Welsh universities concluded that it was of high quality, efficient and punched well above its weight. With recent figures showing a 37% rise in spending on research and development by Welsh businesses during the past year, we hope the new portal will provide a valuable snapshot of the research work currently taking place within Welsh academia.
To see how our universities are making a significant – and often silent – contribution to the advancement of Welsh society visit our portal at www.researchwales.ac.uk.