Inaugural Gwerddon prize won by Aberystwyth graduate

05 August 2015

Dr Nia Blackwell
Dr Nia Blackwell

The young scientist Dr Nia Blackwell, from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, is the first winner of a new prize launched by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol e-journal, Gwerddon.

Dr Nia Blackwell and her co-authors will receive the award for the best article published in Gwerddon during 2014.

The article, The legacy of mining in south Wales coalfield: water pollution and options for reducing it, is based on doctoral research by Dr Nia Blackwell. Nia wrote the article with the support of Dr Bill Perkins and Dr Arwyn Edwards, who directed her doctorate at Aberystwyth University

The award is presented by the Editorial Board of Gwerddon with the support of the Learned Society of Wales.

The judges were Dr Anwen Jones and Dr Hywel Meilyr Griffiths, editor and deputy-editor of Gwerddon. Both agreed that Dr Nia Blackwell’s article was a worthy winner.

"We felt the article by Nia and her fellow authors was balanced and readable, but also academically sound, appealing to a wide audience and of practical value," said Dr Griffiths.

Nia Blackwell said: “I am grateful to Gwerddon for choosing my article and it is an honour to receive the award this year. I would also like to thank the reviewers and editors of Gwerddon for their valuable contributions and for their constructive feedback which have strengthened and enriched the work. The competition is to be welcomed and I hope it will stimulate more academics to write in Welsh.”

The winner of the prize receives a trophy and £100 donated by the Learned Society of Wales.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, President of the Society said: "The Learned Society of Wales is proud to support Gwerddon and Welsh medium scholarship. I'm also pleased to see a young scientist winning the first prize.”

Nia Blackwell completed a doctorate in biochemistry at the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University in 2014.

Her research focuses on waters affected as a result of processes of mining for coal. She now works as a chemist for a company in north Wales, where she is responsible for running the analytical chemistry laboratory.

Nia Blackwell receives the award at an event at the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol stand at the National Eisteddfod at 4 pm on Wednesday 5th August.

The winning article can be read here.

Gwerddon
Gwerddon is a Welsh medium academic e-journal that publishes original scholarly research across a wide range of disciplines. Gwerddon has two main objectives, stimulating and sustaining academic discussion, and create a pool of scholarly research and academics for student use. Gwerddon was founded in 2007. Dr Anwen Jones from Aberystwyth University is the current editor, and Professor Eleri Pryse, Aberystwyth University, is Chair of the Editorial Board. Gwerddon is funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

The Learned Society of Wales
The Learned Society of Wales is Wales' first national academy. It was established and launched in May 2010 and now has over three hundred and fifty Fellows, who are leading figures in their respective academic disciplines. The guiding ethos of the Society is Celebrating Scholarship and Serving the Nation: as well as to celebrate, recognize, protect and encourage excellence in all of the scholarly disciplines, its purpose is also to harness and channel the nation's talent, as incorporated in its Fellows, for the benefit, primarily, of Wales and its people.

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