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Ministerial praise

14 July 2010

Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP has praised Cardiff University research in a keynote science speech.

In one of his first major speeches as the UK Science Minister, David Willetts praised the University’s scientists and engineers.

David Willetts MP said: "There are other areas where these links between British science and technology are stronger. We not only have distinguished astronomers, but it was scientists and engineers at Cardiff University who produced the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver for Herschel and Planck.

"This combination of scientific research and technological advance creates extraordinary dynamism, both intellectual and commercial."

The University’s astronomers have been involved in the design and construction of the two satellites. Members of the School of Physics and Astronomy are also working alongside colleagues from around the world to operate the satellite and analyse the data.

Astronomers have also helped reveal unique images of the entire sky which could provide new insights into the way stars and galaxies form and reveal how the Universe itself came to life after the Big Bang.

In a wide ranging speech, the Minister insisted that science has an important role to play in driving economic growth.

Key themes in the Minister’s speech included:

  • Ensuring that science retains public trust. The Government’s focus on open data and allowing the public to request government-held data is a part of this.
  • To focus less on scientific breakthroughs being made in the UK and more on ensuring that UK scientists and businesses are well placed to take advantage of new technologies, wherever they originate.
  • Government backing for research makes economic sense. Minister said: "research council spend is doing the job it should be doing – generating wider benefits across the economy as a whole".
  • Exploring how public competitions offering prizes could stimulate the growth of new technologies, giving the example of the X Prize driving innovation in sub-orbital flight.

A full copy of the Minister’s speech is available at: