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GW4 Director's Update
January 2022

Welcome to the GW4 newsletter: your regular digest of GW4 news, funding and development opportunities.

The New Year has got off to a fantastic start as we announce that our return on investment in collaborative research communities has reached an all-time high, of 20:1. This phenomenal achievement is down to the success of our Generator Award Funding scheme, which supports both new GW4 communities and existing communities to explore research opportunities. I'm delighted to say we have supported over 100 research communities to date, which are tackling a range of global and societal challenges such as climate, net zero and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This impressive uplift in ROI highlights the growing importance in this type of small-scale funding that enables researchers to build interdisciplinary networks, develop innovative research, and deliver real world-impact.

Our strength in collaborative, interdisciplinary research was evident at the GW4 AMR Alliance’s first networking and bid development event, which took place earlier this month. More than 50 participants came together to discuss our four priority themes related to AMR: the built and urban environment; natural and farmed environments; food, crop and industrial production systems; and co-infections, polymicrobial communities and microbiomes. Attendees ranged from microbiologists, mathematicians and civil engineers to architects and historians, demonstrating how GW4 has the breadth of academic expertise to take a world-leading One Health approach to tacking AMR. I was pleased to see the Alliance’s level of ambition and scale, and its progress to date has been well received by the GW4 Board.

In other news, it was a pleasure to participate in a panel discussion on the ‘Future of the PhD’ as part of the University of Bristol's 100 Years of Postgraduate Research Celebration Event last week, where an additional investment in 400 PhD students was announced. We discussed how research degrees are evolving to meet current challenges and how they may look in the next 100 years.  In reflecting on my own experience as a PhD student, I cannot understate the importance of supporting the development and careers of postgraduate researchers, and attracting and retaining talented people within our region - particularly if we are to achieve the aims of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) R&D People and Culture Strategy. 

Find out more about our current news, events and opportunities in this month’s newsletter.
GW4 hits record return on research investment
The GW4 Alliance’s return on investment in collaborative research communities has reached its highest level ever.

We now capture £20 in external research awards for every £1 we spend on networking our researchers – up from our previous record high of £16 set in May 2021.

To date, the Alliance has invested £3.1 million in more than 100 collaborative research communities – building a clinical academy training programme, novel biological imaging technology for applications such as rapid drug detection in prisons, and green recovery in cities, to name a few. This has resulted in a grant income of £62.8 million.

Researchers from Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities have explained how GW4 funding has been “instrumental” in helping their projects secure major external grant funding. Read the full story and our case studies here

 
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GW4 Crucible – 2022 cohort announced

A former Royal Navy mental health nurse, ballerina, translator and support worker are among the 30 researchers chosen for this year’s GW4 Crucible programme.

GW4 Crucible offers future research leaders a six month leadership development programme and the opportunity to come together with their peers to consider new interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to research and its impact.

The successful applicants from Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities will explore the 2022 theme ‘Building Back Better: Interdisciplinary Approaches To Mental Health And Wellbeing Research’.

They will take part in a hybrid programme which will include two in-person residential labs and four online masterclasses. Lab 1 is set to take place from 15-16 February. Read more.

GW4 Generator Award funding call – closing soon

Researchers from Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities have just one week left to apply for GW4 Generator Award Funding.

Generator Funding of up to £20K can be used to support new, and develop existing, collaborative research communities. Applications from Early Career Research communities are particularly welcome, as well as those with a focus on GW4’s strategic research areas of climate, AMR and net zero – although communities in any area of research can apply.

Applications close on Monday, 7 February. Read more.
GW4 in the media

New British Academy ECR Network – register your interest

Early career researchers who join the newly established British Academy ECR Network South West Hub will be able to access free support and funds to run events, meetings or other activities.

Led by the GW4 Alliance, in partnership with the British Academy and five other universities, we are building an inclusive and researcher-led network to support the needs and interests of ECRs in the humanities and social sciences - including subjects from social psychology and anthropology to law and history.

Register your interest, and you will be invited to a welcome session outlining the opportunities for capacity building, knowledge exchange and networking. Read more.

Job opportunity - Bristol GW4 AMR Officer

We are seeking a Communications Officer to join the University of Bristol’s contribution to the GW4 AMR Alliance – an interdisciplinary research consortium which aims to increase understanding of, and develop and implement effective interventions for, containing and controlling AMR.

The postholder will help manage and deliver a wide range of communication activities, including internal and external communications, website development and content, and social media account management.

Deadline for applications is Wednesday, 2 February. Find out more

GW4 team changes

We give a warm welcome back to Dr Katie Lidster, who has re-joined the GW4 Alliance as Research Development Manager (Net Zero). Katie is leading the GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero programme, bringing together GW4 researchers, government, industry and communities to better understand the challenges and priorities faced by different sectors in our region, and identifying opportunities to collaborate on innovative solutions.

We also welcome Dr Georgina Brown who has taken up the position of GW4 Coordinator for Talent & Skills. Georgina is helping to coordinate a broad programme of activity to support the development and careers of our postgraduate researchers, early career academics, and technical staff.  
GW4 is a collaboration between the University of Bath, the University of Bristol, Cardiff University & the University of Exeter. 

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