Reconfiguration and collaboration funding highlights
Reconfiguration and collaboration funding has successfully supported changes in the HE sector in Wales, delivering major performance gains and enhanced competitiveness.
The Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) is a collaborative project involving departments from Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Glyndŵr and Swansea Universities. It aims to put Wales at the forefront of energy research both in the UK and globally through the development of low carbon generation, storage, distribution and end use technologies.
The Institute was established in 2008 with £5.1 million of funding from HEFCW over five years. Over its first two years, the LCRI substantially increased its research funds by securing £34.3 million of funding from the Wales European Funding Office’s Convergence Programme. It secured over £11 million of further funding from Research Councils, government and industry. This investment is funding world-leading research that will help to develop a low carbon economy in Wales. The research output of the Institute has been impressive since its inception, with more than 60 papers published in peer-reviewed journals in 2009/10.The LCRI’s research is based on four themes:
- low carbon energy generation and storage
- carbon reduction and energy efficiency
- energy graduate school
- dissemination and partnerships with researchers, industry and government.
On 1 January 2007, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) formed a strategic alliance with the University of Glamorgan, allowing it to benefit from integration into a larger organisation while retaining its separate identity and conservatoire status. The College received £10 million in funding from HEFCW to help make possible the merger and its development plan. In addition to finance raised by the institution, it has fundraising plans which seek to raise £3.4 million from other sources.
The merger of the two institutions has led to significant capital investment in the RWCMD, allowing it to modernise its facilities and ensure that the College can stand alongside competitor institutions in the UK and Europe. Modernisation plans involve constructing a 450 seat chamber concert hall and theatre and developing existing facilities, and it is anticipated that they will open for use by both students and the public in early 2011. The construction of new facilities has enabled the College to improve its recruitment of overseas students, further bolstering the sustainability of the conservatoire.
The Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences (WIMCS) was established in 2006 to enhance the standing of mathematics and computation in Wales and help develop a knowledge based economy. WIMCS brings together academics from the mathematics, engineering, physics and computer science departments at Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities to create a group of high quality researchers who are receiving international recognition for their mathematical research excellence.
Since its inception, WIMCS has helped these university departments to foster links with industry and business, generate significant research funding and carry out outreach activities in Welsh communities, all the while addressing the priorities of the Welsh Government to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) expertise in Wales.
In the last year WIMCS has attracted research grants in excess of £3 million and has organised conferences and events with high calibre participants from the mathematical and computational community.
The Climate Change Consortium for Wales (C3W) is a £4 million HEFCW-funded initiative involving Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea Universities which has also received funding from the Countryside Council for Wales, and is increasing the climate change research profile of Wales.
C3W aims to make Wales a recognised worldwide centre of excellence through its research into the causes, timing and consequences of climate change. Outcomes of this research will influence and develop climate change policy in Wales, the UK and internationally. The collaboration between the four institutions has led to the launch of multi-disciplinary research programmes, helping to develop critical mass and attract research grants to the universities involved.
C3W’s work is based on four interdisciplinary ‘Grand Challenges’ of earth system modelling, sea level change, hazard evaluation, mitigation and adaptation, and the Welsh dimension of climate change.
The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was formed by the merger of Trinity University College, Carmarthen and the University of Wales, Lampeter. HEFCW funding of £14 million has helped to secure a sustainable future for higher education provision in west Wales.
Trinity Saint David received its charter in July 2010. It is building on the reputation of its parent universities to create an institution that is responsive to both local and national demands. By eliminating any unnecessary course duplication, Trinity Saint David, will allow resources to be redirected towards furthering links with industry, commerce and other stakeholders to benefit the local community, economy and students. As part of its mission, Trinity Saint David is developing post-16 progression opportunities with local schools and colleges in order to deliver seamless progression routes and widen access to students, both Welsh and English speaking, who would not otherwise attend higher education.