From left, Professor Colin Riordan (Cardiff) Professor Sir Steve Smith (Exeter), Professor Kevin Edge (Bath) and Professor Guy Orpen (Bristol) at the launch of the GW4 in Westminster.

Universities’ collaboration celebrated

The GW4 Alliance, which brings together the combined strengths of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, held its official launch last night, 29 October.

In a successful event at the House of Commons hosted by Baroness Randerson, Secretary of State for Wales and Stephen Crabb MP who came together with representatives from industry, business, academia, charitable organisations and the public sector, to celebrate the Alliance’s achievements over the past 18 months.

Launching GW4, Iain Gray, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK is very pleased to support the formal launch of GW4.   We have worked very closely with all four universities. By working together to build communities and share facilities, I believe there are even more opportunities to promote economic growth in the South West and Wales.”

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor said: “The GW4 alliance is not only a driving force behind innovation in the South West and Wales, but it has also contributed to creating the critical mass to enhance our success in an increasingly competitive and research-intensive higher education environment. I am sure that GW4 will continue to play a pivotal role in the future economic prosperity not just of the South West but of the UK as a whole.”

The collaborative strength of GW4 has already succeeded in attracting significant funding to train postgraduate researchers and bring the brightest minds to the region. It hosts the largest Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) in the UK, providing 200 studentships to develop the next generation of environmental scientists.

In the past year it has provided funds of more than £650,000 for 35 projects harnessing expertise across the four institutions to tackle some of society’s grand challenges such as climate change and dementia.

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol and Chair of the GW4 Board, concluded, “The GW4 Alliance brings added value to the four universities. It allows us to promote interdisciplinary research across a wide pool of academics, reaching far beyond what any one university could do.”

For more information on GW4 please visit the GW4 website

Date: 30 October 2014

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