Texas visit brings benefits for research and students
Students and researchers are set to benefit from the growing partnership between Swansea University and top Texan universities, which was given a further boost by the visit of Swansea researchers to the Lone Star State from 26th - 31st October.
The visit, known as the Swansea University Texas Research Showcase, saw a team from Swansea speak about their research at a series of events in Houston, College Station and Austin.
It was also an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships - and explore new ones - with all our Texas partners: University of Houston, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Texas A&M, University of Texas at Austin and Rice University.
Links which were set up or strengthened by the visit include:
• Research collaboration on ageing between the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea and Texas-based experts
• Swansea health researchers contributing to Texan students’ tutorials via Skype
• Collaborative research and joint programmes between College of Law and University of Houston Law Center on children’s rights and on energy
• Collaboration with University of Houston on joint programmes in medical education, and initial discussion relating to Dell Medical School at University of Texas
• Collaborative research project marking the 800th anniversary of the battlefield dialogue between Sultan al-Kamil and St Francis of Assisi, in the light of the present-day Middle East conflicts.
• Links on Alzheimer’s research with the Texan Alzheimer’s Association
• Potential research collaboration and staff/student exchange in archaeology, heritage and history, and aerospace engineering
• Established or deepened contacts with possible Texan commercial partners
Picture: Theatre and music students from Texas A&M who performed excerpts from D J Britton's radio play "Chelsea Dreaming", as part of the Showcase, pictured with Swansea University creative writing professor D J Britton and Vice Chancellor Prof Richard Davies.
The showcase was supported by the UK Government, through its Consulate General in Houston. It was sponsored by Burleson LLP: with headquarters in Houston it is the USA’s biggest firm of oil and gas attorneys. It was also supported by the Welsh Government and by CISCO Networks International.
Picture: Prof Arnold Vedlitz, Dean at the Bush School of Public Policy, Texas A&M University, introduces Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan, Chancellor of Swansea University, who spoke to students about federalism in the UK
Swansea University Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Davies, said:
"No university can expect to tackle the big research challenges in isolation. There is a dawning realisation that working with others elsewhere in the world not only creates larger research teams with better access to the necessary range of world-class research facilities, but also creates a more innovative dynamic. Swansea and our Texan partners are at the forefront of making this work in practice."
President of the University of Houston, Professor Renu Khator, said:
“Our partnership with Swansea University continues to produce considerable benefits for everyone involved. This showcase of outstanding presentations from some of their top scholars is the latest example of that. We’re delighted to host this exceptional event.”
The Showcase was timed to coincide with what would have been the 100th birthday of Dylan Thomas, and featured several sessions relating to the poet's work. However, it featured experts from across all Swansea subject areas.
Picture: Research partners: Matthew Ware (centre), PhD researcher in nanohealth, with his joint supervisors Prof Paul Rees (left) of Swansea University, and Prof Biana Godin (right) of Houston Methodist Research Institute.
Amongst the benefits of the Swansea-Texas links are student exchange schemes.
Pictured: With Vice Chancellor Prof Richard Davies are Ivy Mumuni (far right) and Nathalie Farhoudi (3rd from right), Swansea medical engineering students currently spending a semester at Texas A&M as part of the departmental exchange. Brendan Swain (left), Michael Draper (2nd from left) and Daniel Sprague (2nd from right) are Texas A&M students in medical engineering who spent a semester in Swansea earlier this year.
Ivy: "It's my first time in the US, and I'm having a great time! It's important to go out of your comfort zone and do things like this. It's amazing to see how much pride people have in their university. I'd definitely recommend the exchange to anyone."
Nathalie: "It's been amazing so far! I love it so much! There is a lot of work, with homework after each class. But it is really good fun, and people have been so welcoming and interested in us, especially with our accents"
Brendan, from Texas A&M, said: "My time in Swansea was great. I was pretty nervous to start with, but I was placed with the other international students, which helped. I loved the Swansea campus - and there's nothing like the atmosphere on Wind Street".
Michael: "I knew some Swansea students who'd been over the previous year, which helped when I got there. I'd thought Wales might be grey and wet the whole time, but it really was beautiful and the people were very welcoming".
Daniel: "It was so great meeting people from all over the world, and learning about different cultures. One of the best things for me was the chance to travel and see places I'd never seen: Stonehenge, Paris, Prague, Italy".