GW4 Director's Update
May 2022

May has been a busy month of events for the GW4 Alliance. We were delighted to be the supporting partner for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) South West and South Wales Summer Drinks Reception, meeting with business leaders from across the region. As part of the event’s opening speeches, I joined GW4 Council member Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath, in highlighting our net zero and hydrogen capabilities, and the value of research and development (R&D) collaboration with our four universities. Our GW4 Research Development Manager (Net Zero) Dr Katie Lidster also showcased the work we've been undertaking with our strategic partner the Western Gateway to map hydrogen activity and ambitions across our geography. This generated a lot of interest with attendees and we’re looking forward to following up on this, exploring opportunities for potential future business collaborations.

On the theme of collaboration, three generations of research communities came together to share their experiences and learnings at our GW4 Generator Showcase and Launch Event. The showcase gave research groups the opportunity to network in person – many meeting face-to-face for the first time following Covid-19 restrictions – and we really hope the event helps our new communities achieve even greater things and make the most of their awards. In the same week, we had the official launch of the British Academy Early Career Research Network South West Hub launch, led by GW4 in partnership with nine universities. It was fantastic to see so much enthusiasm from ECRs across the humanities and social sciences, with discussions ranging from potential interdisciplinary collaborations to areas of focus for the network.

Finally, I spent a day in London celebrating the progress of Midland’s Innovation TALENT programme. As a member of their Advisory Board, and with all GW4 universities signatories to the Technician Commitment, it is a pleasure to be supporting their efforts to transform the higher education sector. Continued investment in our technical staff is crucial, not only for university teaching and research activities, but to fulfil the UK Government’s ambition to increase investment in R&D. The day concluded with the launch of the Commission report at a Parliamentary reception at the House of Lords.

Read on to find out more about our current news, events and opportunities.
REF 2021 results demonstrate power of research collaboration across GW4 
The strength of research efforts across the GW4 Alliance institutions has been highlighted in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results.

The results, published on 12 May, emphasise research excellence across the GW4 universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter as well as the breadth and depth of research activity.

Dr Jenkinson said the results “reflect the commitment of our universities to delivering research with real-world impact, tackling major societal, global and industrial challenges”.

Read more.
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Funding boost for GW4 university projects to achieve net zero

Funding has been awarded to three GW4 university projects as part of a £18.9 million investment to support the drive towards net zero.

Research initiatives at the universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter are among nine projects that have received grants from the Research England UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF). The pilot scheme aims to explore how UKRPIF-funded research centres and facilities can be enhanced to address net zero carbon emission targets.

The cash boost further strengthens the collective research expertise and capabilities within the Alliance, supporting work being delivered by the GW4 Climate Alliance and the GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero transformational programme.

Read more.

Creating a social science park to tackle major societal challenges

Chris Taylor, Professor of Social Sciences and Academic Director of the new Social Science Research Park at Cardiff University, has written a GW4 Opinion piece explaining how this new centre will foster new interdisciplinary ways of working

The flagship building, which forms part of the University’s £300m Innovation Campus, brings together 12 social science research groups alongside entrepreneurs, student start-ups, academic spinouts, third sector and public sector organisations – all attempting to address international, national and local societal challenges.

Read more.

Can you help map energy systems across our area?

The Supergen Energy Networks (SEN) Hub, supported by the Western Gateway partnership and the GW4 Alliance, is leading a whole systems project to better understand the complex interactions and inter-dependencies of our regional energy needs, to deliver a first-phase full energy system study for the area.
As part of this work, the SEN Hub is seeking information from businesses, industry, and researchers on current and future energy projects, including technologies for generation, conversion, and end-use of electricity, heat, gas, hydrogen, and other fuels. They would like to know the types of technologies and infrastructure involved, their capacities, installation year (or expected installation year), and specific locations.
Have your say; get in touch by emailing Dr Francisca Jalil-Vega, project lead at the University of Bristol:

Final event in GW4 PGR and ECR career webinar series

Come and discover top tips from a panel of senior academics from a range of disciplines on what they look for when recruiting new lecturers.

Our panellists will share insights and advice on what to highlight in applications to help you stand out when applying for academic roles. The webinar takes place on 14 June, 12.30 – 2pm.

Register here.

Join Net Zero Challenges in Aviation event

The University of Bristol and GW4 are delighted to invite you to a Net Zero Challenges in Aviation Event.

We will bring together academia, policymakers, major industry and SMEs to build the collaborations needed to address the challenges that we face in the race to net zero. This event, on 10 June, will host keynotes from across the sector who will highlight their challenges, funding opportunities, policy interests and areas of priority as they work towards decarbonising aviation.

Register here by 1 June.

Virtual showcase of imaging research 

The Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre is holding an online event to showcase the University of Exeter’s new imaging facilities and the opportunities it provides for commercial and academic activities.

Featuring speakers from pharmaceutical company Roche, clinical imaging centre Invicro, the NIHR Clinical Research Network South West and the College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter. The event takes place on 10 June, 1pm - 4pm.

Register here.

Get involved in the CSCT Summer Showcase 2022

Learn more about the latest in sustainability and the circular economy, at the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) annual conference.

The multi-disciplinary summer showcase, taking place on 27-28 June, will feature a range of research topics presented by selected speakers, and offer the opportunity to network with key leaders and collaborators in academia and industry.

Register here.
GW4 is a collaboration between the University of Bath, the University of Bristol, Cardiff University & the University of Exeter. 

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