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Research Selected for Leading National Report

16 June 2011

Cardiff University has the ‘Big Ideas’


Dr Ben Ward

Groundbreaking work from Cardiff University has been chosen as one of the most important research projects currently taking place in universities, with the publication today of the Big Ideas for the Future report.

Researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Chemistry, led by Dr Ben Ward, are working to develop the use of alternative metals which can catalyse some of the reactions currently carried out by precious metals.

Precious metals have a number of industrial uses, especially as catalysts that increase the rate, and control the selectivity, of chemical reactions. However these metals are rare, and consequently expensive, and as a limited natural resource, will one day run out.

By looking at alternatives to their use, the team at Cardiff is helping secure a brighter industrial future.

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 a project submitted by Cardiff University was 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.

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 Graham Hutchings, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at Cardiff said: “I would like to congratulate the team at Cardiff School of Chemistry on their inclusion in the Big Ideas for the Future report.

“Research taking place at UK universities is helping to change the world and the way we live. It is great to see Cardiff University’s  tradition of world-leading innovation continue and recognised in this important report.”

Professor Peter Knowles, Head of Cardiff School of Chemistry, said: It is welcome to see Cardiff research highlighted in this way, especially as Dr Ward’s group is one of only a small number of research groups worldwide working in this exciting area. This project is an excellent illustration of our School’s commitment and innovation in tackling some of today’s important scientific challenges.