After what has been a very challenging year for communities across the globe Professor Helen Griffiths, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, discusses how, through it's research expertise, Swansea University is bringing together people and ideas to help shape our world for the better.

The last 18 months have shown us more than ever before, that the future is unpredictable. The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency have come into sharp focus, both locally and globally. We have adopted new ways of working and have seen first-hand the importance of research in partnership - collaborating with the NHS to predict and track the pandemic, turning our skills to manufacture protective equipment, and working with our local communities to understand the societal impact of the pandemic.

Building on Swansea’s success in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, we recognise that our excellence in research and innovation goes hand-in-hand with an overarching commitment to partnership working. We are rightly proud of our leading reputation for collaborative research partnerships with other universities and with public authorities, charities and industry locally and across the globe. We are an internationally engaged University committed to solving global challenges, taking forward the levelling-up agenda at home and working in partnership overseas. This approach to co-creation continues to be an important cornerstone in our ambition to inform and influence practice and policy for societal benefit.

Also, it is with great pleasure that I can confirm the 2020/21 academic year was a record-breaking year for the number and value of Research & Innovation Funding awards. Over the 12-month period, £74.8m was awarded to Swansea University for 407 successful proposals, eclipsing last year’s total of £66.4m. Overhead recovery to sustain our research community is at an all time high.

We are proud of our research environment, which enables staff and students to flourish and supports leaders of today and tomorrow to develop. Looking forward, we will continue to invest in our impactful research, tackling the net-zero challenge and climate change, building a connected and inclusive society, enabling health and well-being and embracing the richness of our place, heritage and culture. After all, in the words of Zora Neale Hurston, “Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with purpose.”

There will be new and unpredictable challenges ahead that require imaginative, interdisciplinary solutions, and we have established the first Institute of Advanced Studies in Wales, the Morgan Advanced Studies Institute, centred on interdisciplinary and impactful research.

As we move to the start of a new academic year, the collective vision is one where our research galvanises the community; bringing together creative ideas, proven expertise and talented people within an agile community that seeks to shape our world for the better.

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