Research & Innovation Services

Showcasing NERC Science at Bath

Bath hosted a networking dinner in the Bath Spa Hotel on Thursday 9 July, for academics, students and guests from a range of organisations with interests in NERC science.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) aims to train tomorrow’s leaders in environmental science in an ambitious, multi-disciplinary DTP. The consortium is composed of the four universities in the GW4 alliance (Bath, Bristol (lead), Cardiff and Exeter) alongside six leading Research Organisations and thirty Associate Partners, which cover the full range of non-academic graduate employers, including policy & legislation, media, industry, environmental research and public engagement.

To develop relationships with new and existing Associate Partners and with the Research Organisations, the DTP received additional funding from NERC to run engagement events at each of the partner Universities. Bath put on a networking dinner that was hosted by Professor Sue Wonnacott, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Faculty of Science, and Bath lead in the GW4+ DTP.

Academics from seven departments across the Faculties of Science and Engineering & Design attended, along with our NERC-supported PhD students and multiple representatives from 4 of the 6 Research Organisations (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, The Met Office, Natural History Museum, Plymouth Marine laboratory). Associate Partners present included representatives from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and Wessex Water, as well as numerous other interested parties, including Black & Veatch, Bristol Water and Burro-Happold.

The evening started with a poster session, followed by short ‘ignite’ style presentations on the various themes of NERC science at Bath. These comprised Evolution (delivered by Professor Matthew Wills who also described plans for the proposed Milner Centre for Evolution at Bath), Biodiversity (Professor Tamas Szekeley), Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (Dr Ivan Astin), and Climate (Professor Chris Budd who also outlined the CliMath network of mathematics, statistics and climate science researchers).

Between courses, there were some illustrations of other productive ways external partners can engage on projects. Dr Barbara Kasprzyk-Horden (representing the Water theme) together with Ruth Barden from Wessex Water and their PhD student, Kathryn Proctor, presented their NERC industrial CASE studentship and how this is benefiting both organisations. The project involves evaluating the problem of bioactive agents, notably pharmaceutical products, in waste water.

Dr Denise Cooke (Research & Innovation Services) then introduced the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme. This was followed by a video presentation in which Dr Philippe Blondel (Atmospheric and Oceanic Science theme) outlined his KTP Project with Seiche Ltd. The project aims to develop underwater acoustic sensing devices to protect marine life close to offshore seismic surveys, and demonstrates the productive conjunction of academic and commercial interests.

The dinner concluded with some closing remarks from Professor Wonnacott but guests were encouraged to continue mingling and talking. “The evening had a great buzz – there was lively conversation going on each of the themed tables, indicating real engagement between the University academics and external guests. We can look forward to new research interactions being developed as well as existing collaborations being strengthened as a result of this evening”, commented Professor Wonnacott.

Fiona Carroll, of the Met Office, added “ it was the most productive networking event I have been to”.

Further information on CDTs.
Further information on KTPs.

NERC Photo 1NERC Photo 2NERC Photo 3

Photo 1: Professor Sue Wonnacott, Dr Ivan Astin, Professor Chris Budd, Ruth Barden from Wessex Water, Dr Denise Cooke, Professor Matthew Wills and Kathryn Proctor an iCase student with Ruth Barden and Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern.

Photo 2:NERC-funded students Josephine D’Urban-Jackson, Katy Maher, Jodi Walsh, and Kathryn Proctor.

Photo 3: Attendees networking at the NERC dinner.