Welsh Crucible visited Brussels earlier this week to showcase the benefits of the programme at a reception in the European Parliament. This was a chance for MEPs and the members of the European Commission to hear more about the ways in which the Welsh Crucible is working with the public, policy makers and the media to help tackle major societal challenges such as obesity, engaging young people not in employment, education and training, climate change, energy, health and ageing.
As part of the event, two former participants spoke about their experiences of the Welsh Crucible. Dr Martin O’Neill who is now a Research Development Officer at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods described how his time on the Welsh Crucible has led to several cross disciplinary collaborations looking at improving health in Merthyr Tydfil. Dr Fiona Robinson, a Principal Researcher at Tata Steel, discussed the importance for Welsh Crucible of getting researchers from all sectors working together, and how the programme supports collaboration between Universities and industry to solve problems we face in Wales and further afield.
Professor Peter Halligan, Chair of the Welsh Crucible Steering Group and Dean of Strategic Future at Cardiff University, said: “We have always planned to broaden the programme’s activity to examine funding and partnership opportunities at a European level. Based on the successes of the 2011 and 2012 Welsh Crucible programmes, and as part of the researchers’ career development, we are keen that Wales’ brightest are able to meet with policy makers and funders in order to examine the European research landscape and potential for research collaboration”.
The European event also coincides with the call for the next round of applications for the Welsh Crucible 2013. For the first time, the programme is now open to any researchers working in Wales – in any Welsh universities, or in industry, business, public sector or charities, thanks to an additional £225,000 funding awarded to the Welsh Crucible by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the St David’s Day Group of universities in 2012. The closing date for applications is 10th March 2013.
The Welsh Crucible is led by Cardiff University in partnership with the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Glamorgan and Swansea.