Swansea to share in new £17m project to grow world-class scientific research in Wales

Economy and Science Minister, Edwina Hart, has today (Wednesday, September 9) announced more than £17m of funding to bring up to 90 new research fellows from across Europe to grow Wales’ world-class scientific research.

Beating off competition from across Europe, the Welsh Government has secured £7m from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme, which is part of the EU Horizon 2020 programme.

The Welsh Government, in partnership with Welsh universities, will provide £10m match-funding and these fellows will work with the best researchers in Wales based at Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities, as well as the University of South Wales.

This project is building on the success of the £50m Sêr Cymru programme which brought leading international scientific talent to research chairs at Wales’ universities and created three new national research networks.

The research fellowships are aimed at candidates with three to five years postdoctoral research experience who wish to work in Wales.

Mrs Hart said: “Science underpins innovation and technology development which is essential for economic growth and creating high quality jobs. That is why we are investing in research and building on the excellent work that is already going on in Wales. This scheme will build on the £50m Sêr Cymru programme to increase the capacity of existing world class research projects happening at universities across Wales. I hope to announce further initiatives by the end of this year.”

Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Professor Julie Williams, said: “Securing this funding from COFUND against stiff competition from across Europe is a massive vote of confidence in Welsh scientific research. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 proved Wales is delivering truly world class research but we need more of it to deliver lasting economic and social benefits. Welsh research is having an impact and our scientists more frequently collaborate internationally than those in other parts of the UK. This new fund will ensure that excellent work can grow and deliver even more.”

Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, said: “The Welsh Government is to be congratulated on winning this EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND award for Wales.  The funding provides a timely opportunity for Welsh Universities to build upon the excellent science base we already have by attracting experienced Research Fellows from other countries.  This will strengthen the career-enhancing learning environment for our students and, through greater collaboration with industry, it will also bring “real world” benefits in innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.  Universities should be power-houses for a modern knowledge-based economy.  The COFUND award will help to make this possible.”