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NESTA joins sbarc|spark family

18 March 2022

Experts from Nesta are joining sbarc|spark - a new Cardiff University centre that enables talented people to tackle societal challenges.

Nesta works with partners across industry, the public, third sectors and academia to design, test and scale new ideas in the fields of sustainability, fairer starts for children and improving health for all.

The innovation foundation’s staff will co-locate alongside up to 400 social science researchers in sbarc|spark.

The move will allow the Nesta Cymru team to research and develop solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges, tapping into academic capability and utilising the building’s advanced innovation facilities to shape new programmes and policies.

Rob Ashelford, Head of Nesta Cymru, said the move builds on a long-standing collaborative partnership.

“sbarc|spark’s pool of expertise and fantastic facilities make it a perfect location for the Nesta Cymru team. Our innovation experts have worked alongside Cardiff academics for many years to support and develop different approaches to societal challenges. As we develop and deliver mission focused work in Wales, our co-location in sbarc|spark will further strengthen our ability to tackle major societal challenges over the coming years.”

Nesta and Cardiff University have previously worked together to establish Y Lab for public services innovation.

Professor Damian Walford Davies, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nesta into the SPARK family in a building designed not only to eliminate barriers, but to foster social wellbeing and drive innovation by inspiring our greatest resource: people.”

The largest facility of its kind in Wales, sbarc|spark opened its doors on St David’s Day (1 March). It will be home to experts from 12 social science research groups - collectively known as SPARK (Social Science Research Park).

Together, they will share spaces with public, private and third sector partners to create, test and incubate fresh ideas that can help build a better society.

Featuring 12,000m sq of floor space across six storeys, with commercial units and lab spaces for spinouts and start-ups in Cardiff Innovations@sbarc, the building is the focal point for Cardiff’s collaborations.

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