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£17m boost for scientific research

9 September 2015

Genetic Research

More than £17m funding has been announced to bring up to 90 new research fellows from across Europe to grow Wales’s world class scientific research

Beating off competition from across Europe, the Welsh Government has secured £7m from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme, which is part of the EU Horizon 2020 programme, said Economy and Science Minister Edwina Hart.

The Welsh Government, in partnership with Welsh universities, will provide £10m match-funding.

The new fellows will work with the best researchers in Wales based at Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities, as well as the University of South Wales.

Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, said: “The award of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND is another important boost for research in Wales and will offer significant opportunities for us.

“It is further recognition of the world-leading research carried out by the nation’s academics.

“It will help us to attract more world-class academics to Wales as well as strengthening and encouraging further collaboration between the universities and industry.”

This project is building on the success of the £50m Sêr Cymru programme which brought leading international scientific talent to research chairs at Wales’s universities and created three new national research networks.

In May 2015 it was announced that Professor Diana Huffaker had been appointed as part of Sêr Cymru to lead a new research laboratory at Cardiff University with the power to turn the city into a global hub for compound semiconductor research.

Professor Huffaker was the fourth appointment under the programme and the second at Cardiff University, following Professor Yves Barde who took up a post as Research Chair in Neurobiology.

The new research fellowships are aimed at candidates with three to five years postdoctoral research experience who wish to work in Wales.

Mrs Hart said: “Science underpins innovation and technology development which is essential for economic growth and creating high-quality jobs.

“That is why we are investing in research and building on the excellent work that is already going on in Wales.”

Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Professor Julie Williams, said: “Securing this funding from COFUND against stiff competition from across Europe is a massive vote of confidence in Welsh scientific research.

“The Research Excellence Framework 2014 proved Wales is delivering truly world class research but we need more of it to deliver lasting economic and social benefits.”