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15 June 2010
Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones has visited the University to learn more about Cardiff’s contribution to Wales, and faced a tough round of questions from students along the way.
On his first visit to the University since becoming First Minister earlier this year, the First Minister had expressed particular interest in seeing how the University is supporting the journalism and media sector in Wales. He was also interested in seeing how research across the University is helping Wales succeed in becoming a low-carbon economy and building a skilled workforce – two strong research and teaching strengths of the University.
Mr Jones met with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant, during which he was briefed about the University’s three new flagship research institutes in the areas of cancer stem cell, sustainability, and neuroscience and mental health. The University's contribution to the economy and key policy issues for the future of Wales, were also discussed.
The First Minister’s next stop was at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies where he was met by the Head of School Justin Lewis. He was briefed on the School’s contribution to national and international research in the areas of Journalism Studies; Race, Representation and Cultural Identity; Risk, Health and the Media. With the School celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Cardiff School of Journalism Diploma, he also toured the journalism training facilities including the broadcast TV studio, TV gallery, newspaper newsroom and radio suites, commenting on the professionalism of the students’ work.
Carwyn Jones AM later toured the Welsh School of Architecture, where the School’s Head Phil Jones showcased its world-leading research facilities. Professor Jones explained how academics at the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) – the all-Wales partnership on sustainable research which has its hub at Cardiff - are working to provide a comprehensive cross disciplinary energy research base to support the Welsh Assembly Government’s low carbon policies. The Minister also had the opportunity to meet some of the Institute’s key players including Professor Peter Pearson and Professor Malcolm Eames.
The School’s links with communities in Ebbw Vale were also highlighted, including the work of the Design Research Unit (DRUw). The Unit has recently completed a new environmental learning centre as part of the redevelopment of the former steelworks which closed in 2002. The Environmental Resource Centre which will be run by Gwent Wildlife Trust, was built using the DRUw’s pioneering new Welsh construction system called Ty Unnos.
The visit concluded with a lively Questions and Answers session where postgraduate students from the Schools of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, the Welsh School of Architecture; the School of European Studies, and the Editor of the student news paper Gair Rhydd, quizzed the First Minister on a variety of issues.
Mr Jones responded to questions surrounding Wales’ media industry and the now-scrapped Independently Funded News Consortia’s plans to provide a news service for ITV Wales. He also talked about Wales’ performance in relations to sustainable development targets and his thoughts on the Severn Barrage proposals. Having come fresh from a visit to Downing Street, the First Minister was asked his views on the new working relationship between and Wales and Westminster and for his opinion on the Labour party leadership contest.
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