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Alliance universities securing the future of UK research and innovation through collaboration and connectivity



​Excellent research carried out by Cardiff Metropolitan University will be showcased in a new campaign launched by University Alliance today.

The resource – which can be found at www.unialliance.ac.uk/research – contains more than 60 impact case studies submitted by Alliance universities to the REF 2014 exercise.

They illustrate the excellent research and scholarship happening in Alliance universities and its impact both on here in the UK and around the world.  Alliance universities like Cardiff Met are finding new ways, especially through collaborations with a wide range of local, national and global partners, to overcome socio-economic challenges: growing industries, improving healthcare, building sustainability and shaping society. 

This unique collection of impact case studies will be launched at a high-profile event attended by parliamentarians, businesses and researchers in the Royal Institution, London.

Professor Antony Chapman, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Met, said:

"High quality research is core to our values and mission at Cardiff Met and is essential to our learning environment and to our knowledge transfer endeavours. We are very proud of our research, of our researchers and of our contribution to world leading collaborative research.

"We have a long history of close links with industry sectors and other stake-holders in the wider community. Our Research Excellence Framework 2014 results for the impact of our research outside academia are a ringing endorsement of these partnerships, and of the excellence of this aspect of our work.

"I would like to wish University Alliance and all our partner institutions the very best for the research excellence project – it is critical that we create a strong narrative that influences stake-holders, decision makers and politicians."

The event will also launch a new report from University Alliance which concludes that collaboration and connectivity are essential for the UK to continue to lead the world in excellent research and innovation.

In response to this, Alliance universities are working collaboratively to deliver a new doctoral training scheme. The Doctoral Training Alliance will be built around joint research strengths and embed close relationships with industry from design to delivery.

Our research and innovation ecosystem is a national success story. But increased global competition means for it to continue to flourish it will need greater collaboration and more effective connections with different partners – within academia and with businesses, charities and governments.

The report, Evolve. Connect. Succeed. Funding a healthy research and innovation ecosystem, sets out for the first time what is needed to future proof our ecosystem, in particular the need for greater collaboration and connectivity. It must be:

·         selective so we continue to develop world-leading expertise;

·         collaborative to maximise complementary strengths;

·         responsive and relevant to the rest of society and industry; and

·         committed to nurturing future capability.

Alliance universities have these characteristics built into their approach, demonstrating particular strengths that are well-suited to meet today's challenges.

The report concludes that continued and sustained investment is central to the success of the research and innovation ecosystem.

 Maddalaine Ansell, Chief Executive of University Alliance, said:

"This is an important report. A world-class research and innovation ecosystem is critical to the UK's competitiveness and well-being.

"The challenge is to ensure it remains excellent through responding and adapting to fast-paced change and increased competition.  This requires not only continued investment in universities but also efficient and effective use of the existing excellence and capability in the system.

"Alliance universities understand this.  They are working collaboratively to deliver a new doctoral training system. This shows our commitment to maintaining the pipeline of researchers with relevant skills for the research ecosystem of the future.

The Doctoral Training Alliance will be built around joint research strengths and embed close relationships with industry from design to delivery."

Professor Steve West, Chair of University Alliance and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England Bristol, said:

"The UK has a smart way of funding research. Identifying where excellent research exists and then funding it ensures we have a strong research ecosystem and are able to compete globally. We recognise that the ecosystem's future success relies on balancing stability and dynamism. Long-term commitment to investment, distributed through our successful dual support system, is the right way to maintain this balance.

"Open competition must underpin every investment.  The best research must be funded wherever it is found.  In judging what is best, we must value connectivity within the research community and with the rest of society.

"Alliance universities are essential to the research ecosystem.  We have particular strengths that equip us to meet today's challenges. The recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) saw our research power grow by 27% since 2008, and far outstrip the national average in quality improvement."

The event will also offer Alliance universities an opportunity to showcase some of the excellent research taking place in their institutions through an interactive science fair including robots, turbocharger engines, the world's largest marine conservation area and 3D animations.

 Cardiff Met has two case studies published in the resource. They are:

  • Transforming reconstructive surgery through innovative design technologies

  • Food research - improving safety standards and growing the local economy

Cardiff Met is also taking part in the science fair at the launch event in the Royal Institution.  They will showcase their research on transforming reconstructive surgery through innovative design technologies.

Together these stories provide compelling evidence that the strength and quality of the UK research and innovation ecosystem depends on the government continuing to fund excellence wherever it is found.