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23 January 2013
Each year 30 early- to mid-career researchers are selected to take part in the Welsh Crucible and work together to help make real impact on the well-being of Wales. Launched in 2011, 60 researchers have so far been recruited on to the programme with innovative research projects already underway such as using digital fiction to improve the body image of young girls, a ‘smart pill’ to help diagnose gastro-intestinal disorders and a digital app to tackle obesity.
Considered to be the cream of Welsh research talent, academics will be taking part in a reception at the European Parliament on Wednesday 23 January. This will be a chance for MEPs and the members of the European Commission to hear more about the ways in which the Welsh Crucible is working with the public, policy makers and the media to help tackle major societal challenges such as obesity, engaging young people not in employment, education and training, climate change, energy, health and ageing.
As part of the event, two former participants will be speaking about their experiences of the Welsh Crucible. Dr Martin O'Neill who is now a Research Development Officer at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods will describe how his time on the Welsh Crucible has led to several cross disciplinary collaborations looking at improving health in Merthyr Tydfil. Dr Fiona Robinson, a Principal Researcher at Tata Steel, will discuss the importance for Welsh Crucible of getting researchers from all sectors working together, and how the programme supports collaboration between Universities and industry to solve problems we face in Wales and further afield.
Professor Peter Halligan, Chair of the Welsh Crucible Steering Group and Dean of Strategic Future at Cardiff University, said: "We have always planned to broaden the programme’s activity to examine funding and partnership opportunities at a European level. Based on the successes of the 2011 and 2012 Welsh Crucible programmes, and as part of the researchers’ career development, we are keen that Wales’ brightest are able to meet with policy makers and funders in order to examine the European research landscape and potential for research collaboration".
The European event also coincides with the call for the next round of applications for the Welsh Crucible 2013.
For the first time, the programme is now open to any researchers working in Wales – in any Welsh universities, or in industry, business, public sector or charities, thanks to an additional £225,000 funding awarded to the Welsh Crucible by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the St David’s Day Group of universities in 2012.
Researchers are competitively selected on the basis of their research excellence and interest in interdisciplinary research. Successful applicants also need to demonstrate a commitment to thinking collaboratively about the impact of their work and to communicating their research beyond the academy. The closing date for applications is 10th March 2013.
For more information contact:
Dr Sara Williams
T; 02920 879010
About the Welsh Crucible programme
Welsh Crucible comprises three two-day residential events called ‘Labs’. The Labs combine skills enhancement, lectures, group exercises, and self-discovery. They are all designed to introduce participants to new ways of thinking and working, with the aim of creating long-term changes in attitude and working practice, as well as encouraging practical collaborations between participants. Overall, the Labs are about creating an environment conducive to the development of innovative individuals, allowing them to cultivate their ideas, particularly in collaboration with others and across disciplines.
They are also about developing a network of peers within the research community to fuel potential interdisciplinary working, to learn about different areas of research, and to encourage personal and career development. A key differentiator from other development programmes is the inclusion of "space" between Labs. This allows participants to return to their research environment to reflect on what they’ve learned, and apply their new ideas or style of working, while they are still on the programme. As well as allowing time for these crucial changes to become embedded in day-to-day activity, meeting three times over an extended period also encourages the development of more enduring and normalised relationships between participants and facilitates the formation of a longer-term network.
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