Skip to main content

2017

Cardiff University has been named University of the Year at the 2017 Business and Education Partnerships Awards.

It was one of four prizes on a night of success that saw the University win every award for which it was nominated.

Alongside the title honour, the University was recognised for a collaboration with IQE through the Economic Impact Award. The collaboration with IQE was also acknowledged in Professor Peter Smowton’s award for Individual Impact of the Year.

Work between the School of Psychology and the Chief Fire Officers Association completed the clean sweep with the New Process Award.

See how we are connecting industry, business, and government with our academics.

The success follows The Times and The Sunday Times recognising Cardiff as Welsh University of the Year 2018.

Professor Hywel Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Engagement, said: "We are delighted to have been named University of the Year. It follows The Times naming us Welsh University of the Year and our move into the world’s top 100 under the Shanghai Academic Rankings of World Universities..."

Professor Peter Smowton is Director of the EPSRC's Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub. The Hub takes decades of silicon expertise and makes it usable for one of this century’s growth industries: compound semiconductors.

Professor Rob Honey and Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton developed a new process to improve decision-making at emergency incidents. The insights came from attaching GoPro cameras to the helmets of firefighters, helping the researchers to understand how decisions were being made.

The CAER Heritage Project, an innovative partnership between community development organisation Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE), Cardiff University, local schools, community groups and residents, has been shortlisted for one of the UK’s most prestigious awards in Archaeology.

Nominated for the Marsh Award for community archaeology, the project is working to rediscover the heritage of one of Cardiff’s hidden treasures, Caerau Iron Age hillfort, which overlooks the western suburbs of the city and is located in one of the most vibrant yet socially challenged suburbs of southeast Wales.

Now in its fifth year, the CAER Heritage Project is entering the development phase of its Hidden Hillfort Heritage Lottery grant, aiming to open up the site, through a repurposed gospel hall-turned-visitor centre, a community garden and heritage trails for the wider public.

Each year the Marsh Archaeology Awards celebrate excellence in community archaeology and recognise the passion and dedication of the many people working so hard to protect and understand British Archaeology.

Supported by the Marsh Christian Trust, the coveted Marsh Award for Community Archaeology recognises and promotes the results of research and/or fieldwork led by community groups which have made a substantial contribution to knowledge and wellbeing.

Dr Oliver Davis, co-director of the project at Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion said: "We are delighted that the CAER Heritage Project has been recognised for both its impact on the community and its archaeological significance. Our community-led excavations have revealed the site as a power centre from the Neolithic to Roman and Medieval times..."

Dave Horton of Action for Caerau and Ely added: “The project has had a growing and significant impact on our community. Not only are we creating a positive vision for the area, but we are bringing together people from all generations and backgrounds to make more change possible. Local people are learning new skills, local schools are bringing our heritage into classrooms and we are starting to open up the site to share our amazing heritage with people far and wide.”

Winners of the awards for Community Project, Young Archaeologist and Community Archaeologist will be announced by the Council for British Archaeology at a special ceremony in London on 6 November.

A Welsh biotech company is working with Cardiff University to study two potentially life-saving biomaterials in slipper limpets.

Mikota is working with two academic groups in the University to examine proteins contained in the sea snails.

Slipper limpets are believed to have arrived in Wales on the hulls of US ships during the Second World War. They contain both hemocyanin and collagen. The former has potential for the treatment of breast and bladder cancer, and the latter can be used in regenerative therapies such as bone and nerve repair.

Alex Mühlhölzl, Chief Executive of Mikota, said: "Collagen is found in virtually every living organism, but what's different about the marine collagen from slipper limpets is that it's stable at a range of temperatures in line with collagen from cows, pigs and humans. Most sea creatures live in much colder environments than the human body, so until now the only thermally stable sources of collagen were pigs, cattle, and other mammals.

"Hemocyanin - as well as being useful for retarding tumour growth in its own right - is also a protein adjuvant. That means it will bind itself to other medicines and make them easier for the body to detect."

Dr Mark Young, the Academic lead for the Protein Technology Hub in the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University, and the Cardiff partner on the BioCyanin project, said: “Working with Mikota represents an excellent opportunity for the Protein Hub to develop closer links with industry on a project with impact in biotechnology and marine conservation..."

Dr Peter Watson and Dr Iwan Palmer are members of the Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN), an Ireland-Wales programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. CALIN brings together expertise, access to emerging technologies and routes to market in order to support businesses in the regions. Drs Watson and Palmer aim to help characterise and develop Maricoll, the collagen purified from the limpet, for biomedical applications.

Dr Watson said: "Collagen has always been of interest in the field of biomaterials and medical devices, and this interest continues to grow with several collagen containing clinical products now on the market..."

Cardiff University is about to boost its ability to turn leading biomedical research into novel drugs, as it becomes the home of the highly successful Medicines Discovery Institute.

Led by Professor Simon Ward and Professor John Atack, the Institute will bring unrivalled knowledge of the pharmaceutical sector and proven success in bringing new medicines successfully to clinic.

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: "With research strength in areas such as immunity, neuroscience, oncology and infectious disease, Cardiff University is an ideal home for the ambitious Medicines Discovery Institute..."

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government’s Sêr Cymru scheme, the Medicines Discovery Institute will address a key challenge in the Welsh Government’s strategy for science and innovation by developing novel drugs for neuroscience, cancer and infection and immunity. The initiative complements and extends long-standing drug discovery work at Cardiff, particularly in the areas of cancer and infection. This includes work supported recently by Welsh Government under the highly successful Life Sciences National Research Network scheme in drug discovery, hosted by Cardiff University.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport Vaughan Gething said: "I am delighted to support this exciting new initiative. It reflects Welsh Government’s commitment to supporting innovative research across sectors, in ways that will have a positive impact on the health, well-being and prosperity of the people in Wales."

Professor Simon Ward, Co-Director of the Medicines Discovery Institute, said: "We aim to make the Medicines Discovery Institute a focal point for medicines discovery and innovation within Cardiff University and the wider UK academic community. Moreover, it will also become a catalyst for spin-out companies and academic-industrial collaborations that will develop new medicines bearing an ‘invented in Cardiff’ hallmark all the way from the lab to the pill bottle..."

Located within the highly successful School of Biosciences, the new institute will also provide an excellent opportunity for training and inspiring the next generation of medicines discovery scientists.

An international team, including researchers from Cardiff University, has discovered a new orangutan species within Indonesia.

Pongo Tapanuliensis, otherwise known as the Tapanuli Orangutan, was found in the three Tapanuli districts of North Sumatra after close analysis of the ape inhabitants of the Batang Toru Ecosystem.

Dr Benoît Goossens from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences said: “The Batang Toru populations of orangutans in Sumatra were only rediscovered fairly recently in 1997. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that the researchers received the skeleton of an adult male orangutan that was killed during conflict, and we realised that there were significant physical and genetic differences in these apes.

“By comparing the skull to other orangutans, it was clear that this skull showed dramatic differences. This suggested that the Batang Toru population was potentially unique, so our international team of researchers worked together to gather further evidence.”

The international team of collaborative researchers, made up from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, Indonesian authorities, the Australian National University and Cardiff University, and led by Professor Michael Krützen at University of Zürich, determined the unique genetic differences of the apes by completing the largest genomic study of wild orangutans in history.

Professor Michael Krützen said: “When we realized that Batang Toru orangutans are morphologically different from all other orangutans, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place..."

Computer modelling reconstructed the population history of the three orangutan species, revealing that the Batang Toru apes have been isolated for 10,000 to 20,000 years.

Dr Pablo Orozco-ter Wengel from Cardiff University said “The divergence between the Tapanuli orangutans and the other two orangutan species came as a surprise.

“It pushed the divergence between these species to as far as 3 million years ago, with the South of Toba orangutans being more similar to the Bornean orangutans, than to the North of Toba orangutans.”

With no more than 800 individuals, the new species of orangutan are now considered the most endangered species of great ape on the planet.

Dr Goossens said: “It’s exciting to describe a new great ape species in the 21st century, however with such low numbers of the Batang Toru orangutans, it is vital that we now work to protect them..."

“It is crucial that we work to conserve the forest, because if we do not take the steps needed to protect the Tapanuli Orangutans, we could see their discovery and extinction within our lifetime.”

The Welsh and Flemish experience of the Passchendaele campaign is under the spotlight at a free event in Cardiff Bay this month.

In a unique mix of history, literature, music, and art, the symposium brings together historians, writers, poets and leading arts practitioners at a special event sponsored by Cardiff University, the Government of Flanders and the Welsh Government on 9 November.

The military experiences in Flanders Fields and the little-known hosting of Belgian refugees across Wales will feature in a day commemorating one of the bloodiest campaigns of the First World War and its wider social and literary context.

Also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele ran for four terrible months in 1917. The Allies began the assault from the Ypres Salient in July. The 105-day campaign would claim more than 2,000 casualties daily, with men and horses drowning in the mud amid sustained rainfall not seen since the previous century.

A day short of the centenary of the end of the campaign, the symposium opens with an address from the Presiding Officers of the Welsh National Assembly and the Flemish Parliament.

The day features eleven sessions ranging from Welsh Soldiers and their Identity on the Western Front to Conscientious objectors in Wales during the First World War. Cardiff historian Dr Toby Thacker begins with Passchendaele in History and Memory.

Participating historians are Toby Thacker (Cardiff), Christophe Declercq (Leuven/UCL) Hugh Dunthorne (Swansea), Aled Eirug (Swansea) and Gethin Matthews (Swansea). Local historians John Bradshaw and Toni Vitti share their findings about refugee experiences in the north and south (Laugharne and Rhyl respectively).

From the Arts, Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre Writer in residence Peter Theunynck and Gregynog Festival Artistic Director Rhian Davies and National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn also lead sessions, culminating in the moving Letters Home from Welsh Soldiers on the Western Front.

The free public event marks the end of a series of collaborative projects between the Government of Flanders and the Welsh Government. It began with a Welsh Service of Commemoration in Flanders on 31 July 2017, a century to the day since the onset of the campaign.

Flanders and Wales takes place at the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay on 9 November. Places at the symposium are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis via online registration.

The greater use of artificial intelligence and robotics is set to dramatically alter the kinds of jobs available in Wales within the next 20 years according to a new report by academics from the Wales Centre for Public Policy at Cardiff University.

The Future of Work in Wales report suggests that new technology may improve productivity and release workers from repetitive or hazardous tasks but could also see large numbers of existing jobs disappear and change employment practices in ways that disadvantage unskilled workers. The report argues that support should be offered to Welsh workers to help them develop skills that are difficult to automate, such as creativity and critical thinking, which will be in demand in the digital economy of the future.

Professor Steve Martin, Director of the Wales Centre for Public Policy, said: “Our report finds that artificial intelligence could transform the world of work in Wales.

“A lot has been written about global trends, but we need to build a better understanding of how advances in technology will affect the Welsh economy so we can prepare for a future where some jobs may be very different to today..."

An event to mark the launch of the report is being held on Wednesday 1 November at Cardiff University.

Speakers will explore the future of work in Wales and the opportunities and challenges that this poses for government, schools, careers advice and employers.

Speakers include:

  • The First Minister of Wales, The Right Honourable Carwyn Jones AM
  • Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and author of ‘Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices’ commissioned by the Prime Minister, who will talk about the RSA’s programme on Future Work
  • Stijn Broecke, Senior Economist in Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who will talk about the OECD’s programme of research into the future of work.

Two of the University’s social scientists have been recognised for the excellence and impact of their work.

Professor Sally Power, Co-Director of the Wales Institute of Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) and Director, WISERD Education and Professor Martin Kitchener, Dean of Cardiff Business School, were named among 69 leading social scientists to be conferred the award of Fellow by the Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Power is a significant writer in the sociology of education, and is particularly known for her work on the introduction of market reforms in England and elsewhere, and on the relationship between education and the middle class.

Professor Kitchener has served as Dean and Head of Cardiff Business School since October 2012. His leadership is defined by his implementation of a unique public value strategy which directs the School to “promote economic and social improvement through interdisciplinary scholarship that addresses grand challenges, while operating a progressive approach to our own governance.”

Professor Martin Kitchener

Professor Power said: “I am delighted to have been conferred as a Fellow. I believe that the Academy plays a really important role in promoting and protecting the social sciences – a role that has never been more important in the light of the societal challenges facing Wales, the UK, Europe and beyond. I hope that my fellowship will enable me to make a contribution to this work.”

Professor Kitchener added: “I am very proud to have been given the opportunity to continue Cardiff University’s strong record of contributions to the Academy, and I look forward to helping promote the role that social scientists play in the delivery of value to the public.”

Professor Roger Goodman FAcSS, Chair of the Academy of Social Sciences said: “Each new distinguished Fellow has been recognised for their outstanding and impactful contributions in their respective fields, and will prove invaluable additions to the range of expertise within the Academy.

“This speaks not only to the power and scope of the social sciences to address the big issues of our time, but also to the growing depth and breadth of representation within the Academy as the voice of the social science community as a whole.”

A brand new centre designed to train the next generation of data scientists has been awarded to Cardiff University.

The Centre for Doctoral Training in data intensive science (CDT) has been created as part of a £10m UK-wide investment from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Students enrolled into the CDT will embark on a four-year PhD designed to analyse data from astrophysics, accelerator science, nuclear and particle physics research.

The creation of the centre is in response to the growing issue of trying to sift through the mountains of data created by modern observational and experimental science facilities.

To address this problem, students will utilise sophisticated computational, statistical and programming techniques, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to extract insights from huge datasets to make new discoveries.

Cardiff University’s Data Innovation Research Institute will lead the CDT, in collaboration with the University of Bristol and Swansea University.

The Data Innovation Research Institute.

The CDT will also incorporate industrial partners and will offer comprehensive training in data intensive science through cutting edge research projects and a targeted academic training programme. This will be complemented by secondments to national and international partners.

Eight new CDT’s have been created as part of the STFC’s £10m investment, training over 100 PhD students at 19 universities across the UK. The bulk of the funding comes from the £90m allocated for 1,000 new PhD places across all the UK’s Research Councils, announced in the 2017 Spring Budget as part of the National Productivity Investment Fund.

A kick-off event took place in Cardiff this week which brought together over 100 students from the eight CDTs for a two-day training event, with sessions covering advanced computing and data analysis skills as well as sessions on science communication and careers.

An inaugural dinner with the director of STFC, Brian Bowsher, also took place with talks from Cardiff University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Holford and Professor Patrick Sutton, head of the Gravitational Physics Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

STFC’s Executive Director of Programmes Professor Grahame Blair said: “This investment will not only bring on the next generation of much-needed data scientists with the skills and knowledge to become leaders in the field, it will be crucial in ensuring the UK research sector and the UK economy remains competitive on the world stage.”

“For example, students at Cardiff University were directly involved in the recent gravitational waves discoveries.  Our new students will be able to use state-of-the-art data analysis and machine learning techniques to ensure that we extract every possible signal from our data.

“Many students will go on to jobs in industry that make use of their problem solving, computational and data analysis skills.  By incorporating a six-month industrial placement in the PhD, we give the students real-world experience early in their careers and the opportunity to build new collaborations with industry.”

Researchers at Cardiff University are exploring the reasons why cancer patients with physical impairments experience greater problems in accessing healthcare compared to the general population.

Funded by Tenovus Cancer Care, the study will look at the experiences of disabled people across Wales who have been diagnosed with and treated for a potentially curable cancer.

Dr Dikaios Sakellariou, from the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University, said: "There is evidence that cancer patients with long-standing physical impairments report poorer care but the reasons for this are not clear..."

The information gathered by the researches will be used to inform planning of services and to create training material to help healthcare professionals be more aware and sensitive to the combined effect of disability and cancer. Also, recruiting participants from across Wales, in all cancer centres, will raise the visibility of this population of cancer patients.

While there have been a few studies that report on the experiences with cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment of disabled people, these studies focused on specific cancer types or specific physical impairments. Additionally, none of these studies were carried out in the UK, and none had an aim of developing training material or actively collaborating with patients to inform service delivery. In contrast, the new study will develop an understanding of people’s experience of cancer care, exploring their priorities and the challenges they face, with relevance to all physical impairments and cancer types.

The research team is recruiting via the community across the whole of Wales, with centres in Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor. For more information, please contact the team at sakellarioud@cardiff.ac.uk