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£6m centre to help tackle major policy challenges

14 June 2017

Cardiff University is to host a new £6m research centre which will help to ensure that governments and public services have access to the best available evidence to help them tackle the major policy challenges of our day.

The Wales Centre for Public Policy has been funded for five years by Welsh Government and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and will play a key role in encouraging evidence-based policymaking and professional practice.

Working with experts from universities across the UK and internationally, the Centre will undertake two distinct but linked programmes of work for Welsh Ministers and public services to address key policy issues including Brexit, supporting growth and prosperity, closing the education attainment gap, and the future funding of the health service and social care.

Fresh thinking and new ideas

The Centre will build on the success of the Public Policy Institute for Wales and combine this with a broader approach that will involve working with public services and as part of the UK-wide What Works initiative, a network of seven centres which uses evidence to make better decisions that can improve public services.

First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones, said: “I look forward to this new team of academics and researchers providing fresh thinking and new ideas on how best to improve Wales’ public services...”

“Well-informed, independent advice and evidence is crucial to good policy making. I am confident the Wales Centre for Public Policy will allow us to tap into the very best ideas to help us reform and improve our public services and, most importantly, deliver for the people of Wales.”

Carwyn Jones First Minister for Wales

Professor Colin Riordan, Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted that Cardiff will lead such an important research centre designed not only to serve the distinct policy needs of Wales, but also to inform policy-making across the UK...”

“This major award is testimony to the excellence of the University’s social science research and underlines our commitment to working with policy makers and public services to help to tackle the major challenges we face as a society.”

Professor Colin Riordan Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

ESRC Chief Executive Professor Jane Elliott, said: “The ESRC is very excited about this new venture which will enable us to build upon our already strong relationship with the Welsh Government and ensure that social science research continues to provide evidence and insight on societal issues to inform policy making and professional practice across the whole of the UK.”

The new Centre will be led by Professor Steve Martin, the current Director of the Public Policy Institute for Wales. Professor Martin said: “The funding of the new Centre confirms the importance which Welsh Ministers and the ESRC place on ensuring that policy decisions are informed by high quality evidence...”

“We welcome this opportunity to help bridge the gap between research and practice by working with government, public services and academia.”

Professor Steve Martin Director, Wales Centre for Public Policy

The Centre will open in October 2017 and create a range of new research and support posts.

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