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05 November 2009
The First Minister officially launched the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Method (WISERD) at the Senedd Building Cardiff Bay (October 22).
Cardiff University is one of the five campuses of the St David’s Day group of Universities in Wales which have come together to embark on this major programme of research bringing together economists and social scientists from across the five campuses.
The mission of the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Method (WISERD) is to strengthen social science research capacity across Wales through cooperation, joint projects and associated links with centres of excellence across the European Union. To facilitate this, WISERD has established a partnership with the Economic and Social Research Council’s National Centre for Research Methods (a network of research groups, each conducting research and training in an area of social science research methods).
Devolution of government in the UK has been accompanied by a process of considerable economic and social change. These changes have taken place across the territory of Wales, dramatically affecting both its social and physical landscape; and challenging the "national mythology" as it relates to the people of Wales, their beliefs, attitudes and outlook.
Professor Huw Beynon, co-director of WISERD said: "Where there were once firm edges around ‘places’ of Wales - "coalfields" and "national parks" for example - these boundaries have become fuzzier. This fuzziness has implications for policy makers. It also affects the way we think about Wales, raising questions of how best to visually and spatially represent the country, its economy and population."
Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "WISERD is part of the Welsh Assembly Government's commitment to enhancing research in Wales. It will do this by not only ensuring adequate investment, but also by focusing on building excellent research management capacity within Welsh Higher Education Institutions.
"By drawing together expertise in social science, we will create strong research strategies, and continue to foster greater collaboration across the sector to provide Wales with the scale, critical mass, and research excellence to competing more effectively with universities in the rest of the UK The knock on effects of a successful WISERD will be a greater success rate and winning more awards from UK Research Council’s and other research funding bodies."
WISERD’s researchers have internationally recognised expertise in methods of recording and analysing economic changes and the experiences of everyday life. They have been centrally involved in developing new ways of mapping Wales and the lives of its people. They will play a vital role in the coming years, informing policy makers and practitioners as Wales enters a further period of change and uncertainty.
WISERD is jointly funded by the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan and Swansea; the Higher Education Funding Council of Wales (HEFCW) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
The importance of WISERD has been recognised by the Welsh Assembly Government’s decision to establish it as one of Wales’ new National Research Centres.
Group photograph right to left: Professor Huw Beynon (WISERD Director) is pictured with co-directors Professor Martin Jones (Aberystwyth); Professor Amanda Coffey (Cardiff); Professor Gary Higgs (Glamorgan) and Professor David Blackaby (Swansea).
See more photographs from the official launch at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/wiserd/
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