Research consortium sees soaring return on investment

GW4 Alliance investment in research yields record high returns of 20:1

Research consortium GW4 Alliance is celebrating an all-time return on investment (ROI) high.

The consortium of four research-intensive UK universities across the west and south west of England and South Wales – Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter – says for every £1 it spends in collaborative research communities it now generates £20 in external research awards.

This is up from its previous record high of £16 for every £1 spent set in May 2021. It also compares favourably to the UK government’s research and development ROI – around £7 for every £1 invested.

Across its member universities, the GW4 Alliance has to date invested £3.1 million in over 100 collaborative research communities tackling issues such as climate change education, green recovery in cities, and new drugs to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

This has, in turn, seen those research communities attract major external grant funding totalling £62.8 million.

GW4 aims to build research communities of scale and capability that will deliver a step change in world-class research and innovation that could not be achieved by one of the institutions alone – Dr Joanna Jenkinson, GW4 Alliance

One GW4 research community at the University of Bath successfully secured a £1m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate how fluorescence can be used to track the presence of novel psychoactive substances – findings could be used in rapid drugs detection in homeless communities and prisons to improve clinical outcomes and support users.

Lead principal investigator Dr Christopher Pudney said GW4 Alliance had been “instrumental in allowing us the space to leverage the best advances in the physical and biological sciences. Without the grouping we would not have developed our technology, which now is also expanding into a range of other applications.”

The consortium says the increase in ROI is down to the success of its Generator Award Funding scheme, launched just over two years ago, which offers awards of up to £20K for six months to support both existing communities and new communities looking to establish their networks and build new partnerships.

“GW4 aims to build research communities of scale and capability that will deliver a step change in world-class research and innovation that could not be achieved by one of the institutions alone,” said GW4 Alliance director Dr Joanna Jenkinson.

“I am thrilled that our efforts are not only helping research communities tackle some of society’s biggest challenges but are also helping them secure significant external research grants in the process.”


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