Universities in Wales have launched a research partnership to strengthen collaboration and increase recognition for innovation and knowledge creation in the country.
The Wales Innovation Network (WIN) follows the recommendations of the 2020 Reid report commissioned by Universities Wales, the national council of Universities UK in Wales that represents the eight degree-awarding institutions in the country.
Prof Graeme Reid concluded the eight universities needed to improve research collaboration to present “larger and more attractive offers” to industry partners and international partners. Better collaboration could create “a single and coherent voice” for government, ministers, UKRI and other funders.
WIN will seek to build relationships with private, public and third sector bodies to improve knowledge exchange. The network is governed by pro-vice-chancellors from all Welsh universities.
The Welsh Government recognises the critical role that research and innovation has to play in delivering our new programme for government
– Vaughan Gething, Welsh minister for the economy
Speaking at a preview event yesterday, Reid said the diversity of the eight universities in Wales was “an untapped strength”.
“At a time when many universities are experiencing financial pressures and uncertainties, it is more important than ever that Welsh institutions work in partnership to strengthen research and innovation in regions across the country,” he continued.
“The Wales Innovation Network will provide an important opportunity to explore the combined strengths of the sector and look for ways to turn the diverse characteristics of Welsh institutions into additional competitive strength that could offer significant long-term benefits for economies and societies across Wales.”
Dr David Blaney, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), which is providing WIN with a £1 million investment over three years, said the network “will raise the profile of R&I within Wales, the UK and beyond”.
WIN will “provide a forum for participants to share expertise; and increase the competitiveness of university R&I by making it easier to form bidding partnerships and share infrastructure,” he added.
“The Welsh government recognises the critical role that research and innovation has to play in delivering our new programme for government. Our aspirations for a healthier, greener, fairer, more prosperous, and more equal Wales can only be achieved in an environment that is innovative and transformative,” said Vaughan Gething, Welsh minister for the economy.