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Learned Society of Wales showcases the transformative power of Welsh university research

News | 15 November 2023

​The Learned Society of Wales (LSW) has unveiled a report that provides a snapshot of research being undertaken at Welsh universities and the positive impact it is having on people, including groundbreaking research from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

LSW commissioned King’s College London to produce ‘The impacts of research from Welsh universities’, an analysis of 280 impact case studies submitted to the Research Excellence Framework in 2021 (REF 2021). This analysis shines a light on the many ways in which research from Welsh universities enhances local communities and makes a difference across the world.

The report unveils a range of findings, underscoring the depth and breadth of contributions made by Welsh university research. An impressive quarter of the research impact benefitted children and young people.

There are a total of 25 different groups of people that benefitted from the impact of Welsh research, from families to carers, policymakers to the elderly. A local focus is evident as 70% of the reported research has had a direct impact within Wales. Yet, the global reach is undeniable, with over 60% extending internationally to countries such as Australia, China, Norway, and Japan, emphasising the global significance and demonstrating the expansive reach of our Welsh universities.

Cardiff Met’s groundbreaking research into enhanced dementia care was included in the report. The research has gone onto improve the quality of life for people with advanced dementia and has demonstrated profound societal impact. By creating and evaluating objects designed with playfulness, creativity, and touch in mind, such as the innovative HUG™, the report states that ‘the team has contributed to increased functional and cognitive ability in 87% of dementia patients involved in trials.’

Professor Sheldon Hanton, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation) at Cardiff Met, said: “We’re proud to be producing research at Cardiff Met that has a far-reaching impact and the ability to transform lives, like HUG™. Cardiff Met is committed to fostering a vibrant research culture and supporting staff in their research aspirations, which is central to our ethos of research informed teaching and learning.”

Professor Hywel Thomas, President of the Learned Society of Wales, commented on the report’s findings: “This analysis underlines the monumental role of Welsh universities in fostering research and innovation and reshaping the fabric of society. Not only does it demonstrate the commitment and expertise of our academic community, but it also reflects LSW’s steadfast belief in knowledge’s transformative power to benefit Wales and beyond. As the UK looks forward to full association with the Horizon Europe programme, we are optimistic about the increased collaborative opportunities and the potential for even greater societal advancement in the future.”