Wales' Excellent Research 'Not Getting Recognition'

Article excerpt

RESEARCH in Wales is at an "all-time high" - but universities do not get the recognition they deserve, a group of leading academics has warned. A report published by the Learned Society of Wales says universities are "punching above their weight" in innovation and engagement with business.

It says universities are performing well by international benchmarks and the quantity and quality of research in Wales has accelerated considerably since 2002.

But they warn communicating the nation's growing reputation will be vital moving forward and the potential damage of negative perceptions needs to be recognised.

Report author Professor Robin Williams wrote: "For more than a century academics from universities in Wales have made significant contributions to research, nationally and internationally. Today it can be argued that research in Wales is at an all-time high in terms of both volume and quality.

"In 2007, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Professor Sir Martin Evans of Cardiff University and the building of the Large Hadron Collider, which led to the recent discovery of the most fundamental of particles in nature, the Higgs Boson, was overseen by a physicist who received his research training in Wales.

"Groups from Wales also lead the world in many areas including the creation and study of antimatter, in numerical modelling of engineering structures, in neuroscience and in understanding cancer and diseases such as Alzheimer's." In Cardiff, the award-winning Institute of Medical Genetics is considered one of Wales' shining lights and researchers have already identified genes linked to bowel cancer and Huntington's disease.

Prof Williams said closer analysis of the St David's Day Group of Wales' research-intensive universities showed a rate of growth in publication output higher than the world or UK growth rates between 2001 and 2010. And as competition for research funding intensifies, he said universities in Wales are becoming more "strategic and street-wise" in order to win bigger investment. …