Edwina Hart AM Hosts Welsh Crucible Event

Edwina Hart AM, with Welsh Crucible participants Dr Marion McAllister, Dr Martin Willis and Dr Anna Croft (L-R)

Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, today hosted an event reviewing the successes of Welsh Crucible to date and celebrating its continuation for the next two years.

NESTA’s Programme Director for the Creative Economy, Jon Kingsbury, spoke about how Welsh Universities have developed and enhanced NESTA’s original ‘Crucible’ model

Speakers at the event, held at the Senedd Building in Cardiff Bay, included Jon Kingsbury, Programme Director for the Creative Economy at the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts;  Welsh Crucible participants Marion McAllister, Martin Willis and Anna Croft; and Chair of the St David’s Day Group and Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan.

Welsh Crucible participant Dr Antonio Gil explains how Welsh Crucible led to interdisciplinary research into improving how we harvest marine energy.  Other projects showcased at the Senedd includes an initiative to make laboratories more environmentally sustainable and a smartphone app to support dieters.

The event showcased some of the exciting and innovative interdisciplinary and cross institutional collaborations have already been created across Wales as a result of Welsh Crucible.  These home-grown innovations include the development of a ‘smart pill’ to help diagnose gastro-intestinal disorders; a digital app to tackle obesity; and an iPad application to enable non-experts to understand the consequences of climate change in the coastal zone.

Along with Assembly Members, Welsh MPs and Welsh Crucible participants, invited guests included senior figures from Welsh business and industry, as well as the higher education sector

Edwina Hart commented: “Initiatives like Crucible, that will develop researchers in many different environments, are key activities for now and in the future and fits well with our ambitions for science in Wales, and has my wholehearted support.   I am pleased to see the Crucible will soon be open, not only to all of our universities, but to our entire research community, including people working in industry and the public sector.

“Getting the best from both worlds by blending the more academic rigour and excellence with more specific industrial research skills and capabilities will be key to the future economic prosperity of Wales.”

Chair of the Welsh Crucible Steering Group, Professor Peter Halligan, Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies at Cardiff University, said: “This is excellent news for Wales. As universities in Wales remain one of the few indigenous engines of research and innovation on any significant scale, we have a pivotal role to play in building a strong and dynamic research base that is able to support the economic and national development of Wales. This additional funding means that we are able to provide the nation’s future research leaders with a career enhancing programme. Unlike more traditional courses, the ultimate success of the programme will be measured by the number of innovative collaborations and partnerships, many of which are already beginning to emerge between researchers.”

David Blaney, Chief Executive of the Higher Funding Council for Wales, said: “HEFCW is delighted to support this innovative and important initiative. Welsh Crucible is performing a valuable role in promoting a culture of cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional working among early to mid career researchers in Wales, which is increasingly essential for high quality research performance. We have been very encouraged by Welsh Crucible’s achievements to date, and by the obvious enthusiasm of the participants, and we look forward to its continued success.”