GW4 Director's Update
October 2021

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

This month, we officially launched the GW4 Climate Alliance, coinciding with the lead up to COP26. More than 150 attendees joined us for this virtual event, which featured a rousing keynote speech by Eden Project Co-founder Sir Tim Smit KBE. We have never seen a more pressing time for action, as evidenced only this week with reports on the pollution of our rivers. As an interdisciplinary research consortium, the GW4 Climate Alliance is best placed to tackle climate issues that would otherwise not be feasible as standalone institutions or researchers. A sincere thank you to all those who shared their expertise at our launch event, and to everyone who attended. This is only the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what the Alliance achieves as it moves forward.

I’m proud to say GW4 has been involved in a Corporate Spending Review (CSR) submission on a South West Aerospace and Aviation Cluster – involving partners such as Airbus, Rolls Royce, CBI South West and Western Gateway. Our aim is to support the transition to a green and sustainable aerospace and aviation industry. I firmly believe we are uniquely positioned to fulfil the UK Government’s vision of net zero aviation by 2050 – our region boasts 14 of the 15 most significant aerospace companies in the world, supported by world-class universities and specialist science centres, a complex supply chain of over 800 companies, aerospace research and development (R&D) centres, and an unparalleled high-skill talent pool. 

On the theme of aviation, I was delighted to attend Bristol Airport’s Festival of Clean Aviation Growth earlier this month. This roundtable event was focused on the development of an ecosystem for hydrogen in the region, and attended by a range of business leaders. It was great to hear GW4 noted as a potential bridge between the South-West LEP and the Western Gateway, and this clearly demonstrates our value and importance due to our broad geography. Following these discussions, we have agreed to form a new consortium and I look forward to further collaboration with these partner industries.

We have a lot more news, events and opportunities to share, so make sure you read on to find out more. 
GW4 Climate Alliance officially launches
"I truly believe that by working together in revolutionary interdisciplinary ways, we can create emergence."

That was one of the messages from environmental campaigner Sir Tim Smit KBE during his keynote speech at the official GW4 Climate Alliance Launch last week (20 September). Sir Tim delivered a rallying cry for universities to reimagine themselves and adopt news ways of collaborative working in order to meet the climate challenge. 

The GW4 Climate Alliance is set to support the regional response to the climate emergency, bringing together experts from across the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. It aims to deliver world-leading climate science, help shape policy and contribute to positive and equitable social change.

The launch event also featured an expert panel discussion on how universities can build regional collaborations to help save the planet, chaired by Professor Philip Taylor, University of Bristol Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise. This was followed by a showcase of our diverse portfolio of collaborative climate research and innovation, led by GW4 early career researchers. 

If you missed the launch, you can now watch it all on the GW4 Climate Alliance website.
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GW4 response to Budget 2021

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 earlier this week (27 October), which outlined an increase in investment for R&D.

GW4 Alliance Director Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE has responded to the announcement and has welcomed: the UK Government’s commitment to increase R&D funding to £20bn by 2024; a real-terms rise for every government department and hopes this will support vital research and innovation funding for climate change, achieving net zero and the slow silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR); increasing the opportunity to develop and forge collaborations with business, industry and government.

Read the full statement here.

£7m grant for new PhD programme

The GW4 Alliance is celebrating a successful £7m Wellcome Trust bid for a new PhD programme - the GW4 Clinical Academic Training Programme for Health Professionals (GW4-CAT HP).

The grant will fund five annual intakes of five PhD fellows, starting in autumn 2022. PhD fellows will have access to exceptional support, training and guidance from world-leading academics and research environments across the GW4 member universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. This will include supportive mentorship, assisting with the transition to a post-doctoral clinical academic role.

Applications for this PhD programme will open on 1 November. Read more.

GW4 Crucible 2022 – last chance to submit EOI

If you’re a researcher with an interest or expertise in addressing mental health, wellbeing and mental illness, there’s still time to apply for GW4 Crucible 2022.

This year’s theme is ‘Building Back Better: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Mental Health and Wellbeing Research’. GW4 Crucible aims to offer researchers across a broad range of disciplines the opportunity to come together to create innovative, multifaceted responses to address the global challenge of mental health, wellbeing and mental illness, while developing as a researcher, collaborator and leader. We really want to build new interdisciplinary teams so encourage applications from the SHAPE and STEM communities.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 31 October. Find out more and apply now.

Our Oceans: A Deep Dive – new public event series

How can we protect the future of our oceans? What role do our oceans play in our collective action to reach net zero?

The University of Bath Institute for Policy Research (IPR) has launched ‘Our oceans: A deep dive’ – a new event series looking at the world’s oceans and what climate change, maritime trade and strategic conflict mean for their future. The series features an array of international speakers and seeks to engage with experts, advisors, policymakers and the public.

Learn more and view their upcoming events here.

PRISM Exeter Speaker Series

GW4 researchers are invited to attend PRISM Exeter's next speaker series which is returning for LGBTQ+ STEM Day 2021. 

Taking place on 17 November, Dr Jon Davies (University of Exeter) and Alexandre Coates (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh) will talk about their experiences in STEMM as members of the LGBTQIA+ community and provide insights into their fields of research.

Find out more and register here.
GW4 is a collaboration between the University of Bath, the University of Bristol, Cardiff University & the University of Exeter. 

Copyright © 2021 GW4 Alliance, All rights reserved.

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