Research projects celebrated as Big Ideas for the Future
Groundbreaking projects from Swansea University have been chosen as some of the most important research projects currently taking place in universities, with the publication today of the Big Ideas for the Future report.
The report, which is being jointly published by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK, pulls together the leading research projects currently taking place across UK universities. Research from all fields, including science, social sciences, engineering, the arts and the humanities, were eligible to be included and two projects submitted by Swansea University were selected for inclusion from hundreds of submissions. The report is narrated and backed by high-profile celebrities such as Professor Lord Robert Winston, Dr Alice Roberts and Professor Iain Stewart.
Swansea University has had two, very different, projects included in the report. The first project, led by Professor Huw Bowen, uses digital technologies and animations to explain to the public how the Swansea copper industry became the world’s first globally integrated heavy industry. Through regenerating an industrial heritage site and working with the community, the project will bring new visitors to the site and help conserve history for a new generation.
The second Swansea University project focuses on healthcare – specifically human error in healthcare, which kills more people every year than are killed in car accidents. Part of the problem is the design of interactive medical devices, as the processes to use them can be hard and unnecessarily confusing. A team of researchers at Swansea, led by Professor Harold Thimbleby, are looking at how to make these interactive medical devices safer, working with teams at University College London, Queen Mary University and City University.
Professor Rick Rylance, Chair Elect of RCUK said of Big Ideas for the Future: “Research has an impact on all our lives. Whether it is a breakthrough in experimental science, or an invention that makes new things possible, or a project that leads us to understand better the strengths and weaknesses of our society, research is the key to the UK’s growth, prosperity and wellbeing. Big Ideas for the Future showcases just some of the excellent research being carried out in Wales’ universities that achieves these aims. It is vital we continue to support the talented individuals whose work makes a real difference.”
Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, added: “The research that has taken place at UK universities has helped to change the world and the way we live, whether that’s discovering DNA, inventing the world’s first computer or finding cures for life-threatening illnesses. It has been the envy of other countries. It is greatly inspiring and encouraging to have confirmation that this tradition of world-leading innovation continues and to get an insight into the many inspiring and potentially-life changing projects currently being developed by our universities.
“We are proud of the Swansea University research teams included in the ‘Big Ideas for the Future report’ but must emphasise that their outstanding work is just the tip of an iceberg - with exciting, internationally excellent research in every part of the University.”
To download a full version of the report, please visit http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/bigideas. For more information on Universities Week, visit www.universitiesweek.org.uk and to show your support, join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ukuniversities.
This news item forms part of Swansea University’s support for the second annual Universities Week, which takes place from 13-19 June 2011, and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the universities in Wales and across Britain.
Universities Week looks at the many different ways in which universities affect all of our lives — from supporting the economy, to working within local communities, to looking at how their research programmes could change our futures. Hundreds of events will be taking place around the country open to members of the public, as well as high-profile media coverage and activity across social media networks.