Finance Minister welcomes Queen's Anniversary Prize
26 November 2013
Finance Minister Jane Hutt has welcomed the news that Cardiff University's Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC) has been awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
The Finance Minister welcomed the news while visiting the £10m EU-backed SEREN project – a major research programme into ground energy, led by the GRC at the University's School of Engineering.
A biennial award scheme which is within the UK's national honours system, the Queen's Anniversary Prize is one of the UK's most prestigious forms of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution. The latest Prize awarded to the University is in recognition of the GRC's pioneering work, including SEREN's applied research that is developing ground-breaking low-carbon, geo-energy technologies, services and products in collaboration with businesses.
Finance Minister Jane Hutt, who was accompanied on the visit by UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington MP, said: "I wish to congratulate the Geoenvironmental Research Centre on receiving the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for their cutting-edge research and internationally renowned expertise.
"I am also delighted to see the significant impact EU funds are having in supporting innovation and the low carbon economy. This is another example of how Wales benefits from vital EU funds, which are helping to drive our knowledge economy, helping secure our global competitiveness, and boosting economic growth and jobs in our region."
SEREN has already assisted more than 38 businesses and undertaken 16 collaborative research and development projects.
One such business is Carmarthen-based Hendre Holdings Ltd. Group Managing Director Dr Steve Whitehouse, said: "We are working to utilise existing coal tips in Wales to produce chemical feedstock and gas via a new technology. The SEREN project is providing us with its research expertise and lab facilities. We will use its bespoke high pressure / high temperature rig to obtain experimental information that will enable us to develop our own production plant and significantly expand our operations. This work has attracted significant inward investment interest and is expected to create many new jobs in the South Wales valleys."
SEREN is backed with £5.7M from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. It pioneers research into areas such as ground-source heat, underground coal gasification to generate energy and carbon storage. Extensive research is also being undertaken on utilising mine water as an alternative and efficient ground-energy source to provide cost-effective heat energy to buildings.