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Year of achievement for University

22 December 2007

2007 has culminated for Cardiff University with the submission of the 2008 Research Exercise, which comes at the end of a year that has seen the University demonstrate the breadth and excellence of its world-leading research.

Throughout 2007, Cardiff academics have been at the forefront of ground-breaking research. Archaeologists from the University used the latest technology to study York Minsters Great East Window. The BBC documentary The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, featuring pioneering research by Professor Nick Craddock into Bipolar Disorder, won both BAFTA and Emmy awards.

Studies by Professor Mike Bruford of School of Biosciences shed new light on the evolution of the gorilla and the future of the giant panda, while Dr Chris MacLeod, of the School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Science set sail to investigate an area of the Atlantic Ocean where the earth’s crust is missing and the mantle is exposed. Research by Dr Stanley Zammit of the School of Medicine, which revealed that cannabis could increase risk of psychotic illness later in life by 40 per cent attracted worldwide media attention.

The research efforts of Cardiff staff did not go unnoticed as academics picked up a host of awards in 2007. Leading the field was Professor Sir Martin Evans, awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for ‘a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals’.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd of the Dental School was the recipient of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology for his pioneering research into late-night city violence, and the work done by the Institute of Medical Genetics was recognised with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

The University itself celebrated a number of achievements in 2007, including the award of Fairtrade status in June 2007, and becoming the first higher education institute to receive the Investors in Volunteering Award, recognising the work done by the student-led volunteering charity.

The University was also part of a group that successfully secured a share of £9.2M Beacons for Public Engagement funding to help engage members of the public with academic work.

2007 saw a number of high profile launches in a variety of areas. The Cardiff International Academy of Voice, directed by renowned Welsh Tenor Dennis O’Neill opened its doors in January to the opera stars of the future, offering them specialist training to fulfil their world performance potential. The Universities’ Police Science Institute, a unique collaboration between South Wales Police, Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan was officially launched by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and a new work of public art - Mind’s Eye, a terracotta spiral which covers the external walls of the School of Psychology was unveiled.

The School of Engineering’s new Gas Turbine Research Centre which tests for cleaner and more efficient ways of generating power was opened by Wales’ First Minister, the Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan. The First Minister was also the first person to take part in the world-leading health project Biobank Cymru, which is based at the University and aims to improve the health of future generations.

The achievements and success of the University were further highlighted in November, when, for the first time, Cardiff broke into the top 100 universities in the world, rising 42 places from 141st to 99th in the world. The Vice Chancellor, Dr David Grant, commented: "In Cardiff University, Wales has an internationally-recognised institution it can be truly proud of."