New £17m project to grow world-class scientific research

The phenmoics research facility at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

The phenmoics research facility at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

09 September 2015

Aberystwyth is a partner university in a new £17m initiative to bring up to 90 new research fellows from across Europe to grow Wales’ world class scientific research.

The funding for the initiative was announced by Welsh Government Economy and Science Minister, Edwina Hart, on Wednesday, 9 September.

The Welsh Government has secured £7m from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme, which is part of the EU Horizon 2020 programme.

Working in partnership with Welsh universities including Aberystwyth University, the Welsh Government will provide £10m match-funding and these fellows will work with the best researchers in Wales based at Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea universities, and the University of South Wales.

This project is building on the success of the £50m Sêr Cymru programme which was launched by Edwina Hart in Aberystwyth University and which brought leading international scientific talent to research chairs at Wales’ universities and created three new national research networks.

The research fellowships are aimed at candidates with 3-5 years postdoctoral research experience who wish to work in Wales.

Professor Chris Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research at Aberystwyth University has welcomed the announcement: “As a partner university, Aberystwyth warmly welcomes this announcement and we congratulate the Welsh Government on the achievement of this substantial award.

“The COFUND scheme, in conjunction with Sêr Cymru, gives us a fantastic opportunity to attract a substantial number of excellent, experienced researchers into our leading science research areas at Aberystwyth.

“These will be scientists at the cutting edge of their disciplines who will be important to help develop both our research and, through collaboration with industry, innovation and enterprise for economic growth.”  

Mrs Hart said: “Science underpins innovation and technology development which is essential for economic growth and creating high quality jobs. That is why we are investing in research and building on the excellent work that is already going on in Wales. This scheme will build on the £50m Sêr Cymru programme to increase the capacity of existing world class research projects happening at universities across Wales. I hope to announce further initiatives by the end of this year.”

Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Professor Julie Williams said: “Securing this funding from COFUND against stiff competition from across Europe is a massive vote of confidence in Welsh scientific research. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 proved Wales is delivering truly world class research but we need more of it to deliver lasting economic and social benefits. Welsh research is having an impact and our scientists more frequently collaborate internationally than those in other parts of the UK. This new fund will ensure that excellent work can grow and deliver even more.”