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Cardiff University in the News - April and May 2011

A selection of news highlights from the media in April and May 2011. The Public Relations office prepares and distributes media releases on behalf of the University and each year responds to more than 600 calls from the media (ranging from expert comment to filming location requests).

Prof Parkes & Prof DaviesProfessor John Parkes and Professor Alun Davies

Cardiff scientists honoured by the Royal Society

Two University scientists were elected Fellows of The Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. Professor Alun Davies, School of Biosciences and Professor John Parkes, Head of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, were honoured with lifetime Fellowships. The awards recognise the world’s most eminent scientist, mathematicians and engineers, and are widely regarded in the scientific world as second only to a Nobel Prize in prestige. As well as national coverage of all Fellows, Professor Davies and Professor Parkes featured in The Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Golwg, and on BBC Radio Wales.

Understanding Alzheimer’s

One of the UK’s leading figures in Alzheimer’s research from the School of Medicine, uncovered five new genes in a search to help identify factors that increase the risk of developing the disease. Professor Julie Williams, also from the University’s MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, carried out numerous media interviews and gained phenomenal global coverage, including:

BBC Radio 4, Today programme, BBC Radio Wales, Good Morning Wales, BBC Wales Breakfast News, ITV Wales Breakfast News; BBC On-line, The Mirror, The Independent, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Press Association, The Guardian, The New York Times, Western Mail, South Wales Echo, ABC News, CNN, USA Today, Boston Globe, Wellcome Trust, CBC News, US News and World Report, The Hindu, Metro Canada,, Irish Independent, Los Angeles Times, International Business Times, and New Scientist.

Undergraduate tuition fees 2012

Cardiff was the second university in Wales to announce a tuition fee of £9,000 per year. The University’s Council approved the proposed fee level for undergraduates joining the University from 2012-13. The proposed fee, along with the University’s supporting investment plan for a series of scholarships, bursaries and ongoing financial and academic support for students will now go forward to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales for consideration and final approval.

BBC On-line, MediaWales, BBC Radio Wales, Good Evening Wales, The Guardian, Western Mail, South Wales Echo

Cymtox awards WEBAwards for university and industry tie-ups

The best in collaboration between Cardiff University and the world of business has been honoured at the Innovation Awards. Winners included a successful strategic collaboration between the School of Mathematics and the Office for National Statistics and a joint collaboration between the School of Biosciences and water company, Cymtox.

Also recognised was a collaboration between the School of Engineering and the UK’s Coal Authority to help remove water impurities in former South Wales coalfields. Western Mail Business

New antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovery

Research at the School of Medicine, led by Professor Tim Walsh, discovered antibiotic-resistant bacteria in New Delhi’s drinking water supply. The team found new strains of resistant bacteria in the Indian capital, including species which cause cholera and dysentery. The findings are the first evidence of the environmental spread of NDM-1, which had previously only been found in hospitals. The story gained widespread international and national coverage, including:

BBC On-line, Health, BBC News Wales On-line, Western Mail and South Wales Echo, BBC Radio Wales, Good Morning Wales, Eurekalert, The Guardian, Reuters, Medical News Today, The Metro, The Hindu, The Mirror, Bloomburg, Times of India, The Seattle Times, Radio Cymru (interview with Dr Arwyn Jones, School of Pharmacy), TopNews New Zealand, Economic Times, Channel News Asia, India Today,, New Scientist, New York Times, Indian Express, The Independent and Time magazine.

Ambulance ImageStudy shows fall in violence

Violence injuries requiring hospital attention fell 10 per cent in England and Wales last year, according to the annual survey by the Violence and Society Research Group based at the School of Dentistry. However, there was a worrying rise in injuries suffered by children aged under 11 for the second year running. The Group, winner of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2009, surveys a structured sample of hospitals every year, analysing anonymised data about patients treated for violence-related injuries. Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Centre, was quoted widely, and media coverage included:

South Wales Echo, Western Mail, BBC Breakfast, BBC News online, ITV Wales News, BBC Radio Cymru, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Star, The Mirror, Press Association, Guardian Online, Belfast Telegraph, Yorkshire Evening Post, Sheffield Telegraph, Lancashire Evening Post, South Wales Argus, Cambridge Evening News, Oxford Times, Coventry Telegraph,, The Journal (Newcastle), Scottish Daily Express, Northampton Evening Chronicle, Portsmouth Today, Sunderland Echo, Rutland and Stamford Mercury and Citizen and 68 other local titles; ITN, Nursing Times, Nursing in Practice

Extinct planktonic foraminifer species from the Eocene (330 million years old) of Tanzania; All are smaller than a pinhead. Credit: Professor Paul Pearson.

Evolutionary winners and losers

University scientists studied marine plankton, offering a new insight into the winners and losers of a 65 million year long evolutionary race to the finish. Researchers from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Imperial College London examined marine plankton, called foraminifera, providing them with an unparalleled fossil record showing 65 million years of evolution. The research was published in the journal Science and received coverage on international research news website Futurity (see below) and States News Service.

Muslim communities welcome engagement

A new report from Professor Martin Innes, Universities Police Science Institute, showed that Britain's 2.8M Muslims "have a higher level of trust and confidence in the police than the general population." The comprehensive report was commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) Business Area. It received specialist media coverage, including: The Sunday Times,, An audio interview with Professor Innes, explaining the report, can be listened to here.

Tolkien and Wales

Tolkien and Wales

J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote: "I love Wales…and especially the Welsh language". In the first book-length study of Tolkien’s debts to Welsh language and literature, a University academic has explored Wales’ influence on the author. Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity by Dr Carl Phelpstead, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, was launched at a free public event , celebrating Welsh scholarship on Tolkien. Local coverage included BBC Wales on-line, BBC Radio Wales, and Good Morning Wales.

Expert comments

University researchers provided comments, advice and opinions on a range of subjects during April and May. These included:

  • Professor Max Munday, Director of the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff Business School, commented on plans to set up enterprise zones in Wales on BBC Wales Online.
  • Professor Richard Wyn Jones, Director of the Wales Governance Centre commented widely on the Assembly Elections. The Guardian, Western Mail , BBC Radio and more.
  • Dr Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies talked about the AV voting system referendum on BBC2’s Dragon’s Eye.
  • Professor John Gregory, a professor of paediatric endocrinology at Cardiff University commented on new data that shows girls' waistlines are now more than 8cm larger at the start of secondary school than they were 30 years ago.
  • Professor Nick Craddock and Dr Daniel Smith, School of Medicine, commented in the Daily Telegraph on Catherine Zeta Jones’ revelation that she suffers from bipolar disorder.
  • Professor Gareth Rees, School of Social Sciences, commented on wider implications for Wales of the decision to raise tuition fees to £9,000.
  • Professor Cliff Guy, School of City and Regional Planning, commented on supermarket’s plans to develop more and more stores in an article on BBC News On-line.
  • Professor David Boucher, School of European studies, commented on Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday in the Western Mail.



Cardiff is a partner of international research news website Futurity. All partners are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) or the Russell Group.

During April and May, six articles were featured on Futurity, helping to communicate Cardiff’s research findings to a global audience:

  • A research team at the School of Biosciences discovered that a group of bacteria which infects people with cystic fibrosis, could offer hope in fighting other antibiotic-resistant microbes such as MRSA.
  • Researchers at the School of Physics and Astronomy using the Herschel Space Observatory found filaments of dust and gas in interstellar clouds, suggesting that sonic booms give birth to stars.
  • How marine plankton studied by researchers at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, offered a new insight into the winners and losers of 65 million years of evolution.
  • The Catacombs of Anubis project, led by Paul Nicholson of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, examined a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the desert at Saqqara in Egypt containing the mummified remains of millions of dogs.
  • A study from the School of Biosciences discovered that a drug conventionally used in the treatment of HIV has the potential to treat tropical parasitic diseases, such as malaria.
  • Strains of bacteria, resistant to antibiotic treatment, that cause cholera and dysentery were found in the drinking water supply in New Delhi following a study by the School of Medicine (see above).

Media services

University staff can sign up for the Daily Media summary, prepared by the Communications and International Relations Division, by emailing: . The media summary is prepared from web news sources, local news media and national newspaper education supplements.

Staff can also view copies of articles in full via the comprehensive news database Lexis Nexis. Copies of coverage from the last month can also be requested from the Public Relations Office. Please contact Jessica Kelly ( or 70298).

If you have a potential news story, please contact the Public Relations Team.