A new phase for Engineering and Materials Research in Wales
By Professor Huw Summers, NRN Director
The Sêr Cymru National Research network in Advanced Engineering and Materials is being re-launched. Between 2013 and 2019 the Engineering NRN was highly successful in driving forward R&D in Wales through collaboration. Over 60 R&D projects, partnered by Welsh university researchers and industry teams, were delivered. I am delighted to announce the continuation of the network in a new project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through Welsh Government.
The first phase of the NRN focussed on building relationships across Wales and beyond through collaborative research projects that funded 40 PhD students and 46 postdoctoral researchers in joint programmes with over 70 commercial partners. The bold move by Welsh Government to create the Sêr Cymru programme is now rightly recognised as an innovative and ambitious step that has provided a significant boost to Wales’ R&D capability. It is excellent to see this momentum maintained in a 2nd phase of the network.
We will be in contact over the coming weeks and months, re-connecting to those of you who were part of our initial network and expanding the network as we welcome new members. Already our founding group of university partners has been expanded and we now have representation from all 8 of the Welsh HEIs. Our focus over the next 18 months will be on the development of opportunities for collaboration and we will be organising a range of events and strategy documents, so please keep an eye out for communications from us and help us shape the future of Engineering in Wales through community-led initiatives.
In addition to the NRN in Advanced Engineering and Materials, two other networks were originally established to address the Grand Challenge areas identified in the ‘Science for Wales’ strategy. Cross-network interaction proved to be very valuable in our first round and we will continue to work closely with the NRN for Low Carbon, Energy & Environment (led by Bangor University) and the NRN for Life Sciences & Health (led by Cardiff University).