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Welsh Crucible marks new European dimension

Last week saw an event hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels when Welsh Crucible marked the new European dimension of its programme with a reception showcasing its activities to MEPs as well as key staff within the European Commission.

Hosted by Higher Education Wales and Kay Swinburne MEP, the event was an opportunity to hear more about the ways in which the programme is working with policy makers and the public to help tackle major societal challenges, and also provide key stakeholders with the opportunity to meet Vice Chancellors of the universities involved in the scheme.

Based on the successes of the 2011 and 2012 programmes – which have already resulted in the development of a number of productive interdisciplinary research projects and promising partnerships – the scheme now aims to broaden its activity to examine European partnership opportunities. Furthermore, as part of researcher career development there are plans for future introductory visits by researchers to Brussels to meet with policy makers and funders in order to examine the European research landscape and the potential for collaborations.

Welsh Crucible is a programme of personal, professional and leadership development for the future research leaders of Wales. It aims to build a network of talented researchers who are committed to supporting the development of research-inspired collaborative innovation and is currently looking for Wales’s next generation of research leaders through an open call for applications that will close on 10th March 2013.

Some of the ideas from participants of Welsh Crucible 2012 that are now being taken forward include a novel waste-water treatment system for applications in handling various wastewater types and for water harvesting and a project to provide robust, accurate and cost-effective methane measurements in cattle and sheep through a novel electronic nose, or ‘e-Nose’.

Professor Peter Halligan, Chair of the Welsh Crucible Steering Group said: “We have always planned to broaden the programme’s activity to examine funding and partnership opportunities at a European level. Based on the successes of the 2011 and 2012 Welsh Crucible programmes, and as part of the researchers’ career development, we are keen that Wales’ brightest are able to meet with policy makers and funders in order to examine the European research landscape and potential for research collaboration”.

Director of Higher Education Wales, Amanda Wilkinson said: “Higher Education Wales are delighted to be able to host this event in conjunction with Kay Swinburne MEP. We recognise the importance of research for the future vitality of Welsh higher education, and indeed, the nation as a whole. This is because research creates knowledge which, when applied, can address concerns in society, create high-level jobs and generate wealth.

The reception will provide Welsh Crucible with a platform to showcase its innovative work to key European stakeholders and it is hoped that a closer working partnership can be developed between the scheme and European partners, which will in turn lead to increased collaboration on its research projects as well as unlocking potential funding opportunities.”