Formal launch of GW4 Alliance in Westminster

The GW4 Alliance is now 18 months old and will be formally launched this Wednesday in Westminster.

This email, which comes from all four Vice-Chancellors of the universities involved in GW4, is to thank colleagues for their support in making the Alliance such a success.

When the agreement to set up GW4 was signed in April 2013 we knew we were building on existing links between Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities but we had no way of gauging the enthusiasm amongst our colleagues, both academics and those working in the professional services, for further collaboration or for the ambitions of the alliance. Eighteen months later GW4 has lived up to its promise and we would like to thank you all for your hard work and commitment in bringing it to life. It is an Alliance designed to combine the intellectual capacity and physical resources of the four leading research-intensive universities in the south west of England and Wales and there is growing evidence that it is already doing just this.

Its collaborative strength has succeeded in attracting significant funding to train postgraduate researchers, for example. GW4 universities are now home to 22 UK Research Council postgraduate research partnerships. The Alliance hosts the largest National Environment Research Council (NERC) funded doctoral training partnership in the UK with nearly 200 studentships, training the next generation of environmental scientists. Earlier this month we announced that GW4’s South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) is set to benefit from a major investment by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with the provision of 114 PhD studentships over five years. In keeping with the breadth of academic disciplines supported within the GW4, the four universities are working with university and other partners beyond the Alliance to support a significant AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, supporting the arts and humanities in the South West and Wales.

In addition, academics from across the four universities have put in nearly 100 bids to GW4’s Building Communities Initiator and Accelerator programme to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges. These funds are designed to build new, high-quality GW4 research communities or help existing collaborations build on their work and secure long term sustainable funding. The programme has been extremely successful, with 35 projects being awarded over £654,126 to date.

Reflecting the breadth of academic disciplines fostered through GW4, successful bids came from academics in the humanities and social sciences, STEM or health related topics and included interdisciplinary bids. The academics involved range from medieval historians to environmental scientists and the projects range from the study of bio- and bio-mimetic materials to the impact of offshore wind farms.

We will circulate a newsletter later this term and again in the spring with more updates.

We look forward to continuing to work with you all as GW4 goes from strength to strength and thank you for your enthusiasm to date.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell DBE DL

Professor Colin Riordan

Professor Sir Steve Smith

Professor Sir Eric Thomas

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