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23 January 2013
Promising research leaders from across Wales are visiting Brussels this week to showcase the benefits of their personal, professional and leadership programme to the European Parliament.
Each year 30 early- to mid-career researchers are selected to take part in the Welsh Crucible and work together to help make real impact on the well-being of Wales. Launched in 2011, 60 researchers have so far been recruited on to the programme with innovative research projects already underway such as using digital fiction to improve the body image of young girls, a ‘smart pill’ to help diagnose gastro-intestinal disorders and a digital app to tackle obesity.
Considered to be the cream of Welsh research talent, academics will be taking part in a reception at the European Parliament on Wednesday 23 January. This will be a chance for MEPs and the members of the European Commission to hear more about the ways in which the Welsh Crucible is working with the public, policy makers and the media to help tackle major societal challenges such as obesity, engaging young people not in employment, education and training, climate change, energy, health and ageing.
As part of the event, two former participants will be speaking about their experiences of the Welsh Crucible. Dr Martin O'Neill who is now a Research Development Officer at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods will describe how his time on the Welsh Crucible has led to several cross disciplinary collaborations looking at improving health in Merthyr Tydfil. Dr Fiona Robinson, a Principal Researcher at Tata Steel, will discuss the importance for Welsh Crucible of getting researchers from all sectors working together, and how the programme supports collaboration between Universities and industry to solve problems we face in Wales and further afield.
Professor Peter Halligan, Chair of the Welsh Crucible Steering Group and Dean of Strategic Future at Cardiff University, said: "We have always planned to broaden the programme’s activity to examine funding and partnership opportunities at a European level. Based on the successes of the 2011 and 2012 Welsh Crucible programmes, and as part of the researchers’ career development, we are keen that Wales’ brightest are able to meet with policy makers and funders in order to examine the European research landscape and potential for research collaboration".
The European event also coincides with the call for the next round of applications for the Welsh Crucible 2013. For the first time, the programme is now open to any researchers working in Wales – in any Welsh universities, or in industry, business, public sector or charities, thanks to an additional £225,000 funding awarded to the Welsh Crucible by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the St David’s Day Group of universities in 2012. The closing date for applications is 10th March 2013.
The Welsh Crucible is led by Cardiff University in partnership with the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Glamorgan and Swansea.
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