GW4 2018 Highlights

Explore some of our highlights from 2018, including the launch of the GW4 supercomputer Isambard, GW4 Treasures week, the GW4 Water Security Alliance Forum and our first GW4 3Rs Symposium.

We formed the UK’s largest consortium of water researchers with the GW4 Water Security Alliance bringing together over 200 water researchers with long-standing expertise.

The GW4 Water Security Alliance held a major forum: Water in a changing world, on the future of innovation, ecosystems and resilience for water security.

The forum brought together academics, industry, NGO’s and government leaders to discuss pressing global challenges which may have an impact on water resources.

Water security is a global issue requiring urgent attention. The four GW4 institutions have internationally recognised research, facilities and teaching excellence in water science. Their unique complementarity means that, together, this research community can be more than the sum of its parts and deliver more impactful science and training."
Dr Isabelle Durance, Director of GW4 Water Security Alliance and Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute.

2018 was the inaugural year of the GW4 Building Communities Award Launch, which supported our six latest groups of research communities to effectively manage and develop their collaborations as well as their project workplans.

Our analyses now show that for every £1 GW4 spends on collaborative research communities, we capture over £10 in external research awards. And that figure is growing as communities develop and create more opportunities for further joint funding bids and new partnerships.

Dr Sarah Perkins, GW4 Director, presented at the Policy Forum for Wales seminar: Developing the ‘Western Powerhouse’ - the future for the Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and Newport area at the Newport Centre.

At the Universities UK conference in London, we highlighted how our world class research and innovation strengths can support UKRI’s strategic vision and the Industrial Strategy in tackling major global and industrial challenges.

Throughout the year we continued to have a strong voice and presence on the regional and national landscape. We contributed to national debate including the Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the Balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending.

This year we welcomed a new Chair of GW4 Board, Professor Kim Graham, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise at Cardiff University.

I am delighted to be joining the GW4 Alliance, having been appointed Chair of the Board, and look forward to working with colleagues across the Alliance to champion research and innovation for our region. This is an exciting time for GW4, with considerable opportunity for us to work together to obtain large-scale investment supporting delivery of innovative cross-institutional research programmes. I am looking forward to building on our previous successes and helping to deliver a shared ambitious vision, facilitating globally competitive research and forging new and stronger relationships across our region and beyond.”
Professor Kim Graham, Chair of GW4 Board

2018 was a stellar year for GW4's high performance computing initiative, GW4 Isambard. The full supercomputer went live, and it is the largest Arm-based system in the world outside of the U.S.

We are proud to be part of this exciting project and collaboration with Cray and the Met Office. Isambard exemplifies our region’s expertise in advanced engineering and digital innovation. We look forward to seeing the results of Isambard in action and hope it will provide the blueprint for a new era of supercomputing worldwide.
Professor Kim Graham, Chair of GW4 Board and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise at Cardiff University

The Great West region was recognised in the second Life Sciences Sector Deal.

The government’s report highlights our region’s flourishing life science industry presence, due to the sector’s collaboration between our more mature technology and digital businesses. This is realised through several of our regional strengths such as convergence with AI, high performance computing, quantum technologies and world-leading academic expertise.

GW4 Crucible 2018 built on the success of the first year and focused on the theme of Resilience, Environment, and Sustainability.

It was a fantastic resource for me which has already helped me in terms of research collaboration, direction, decision making, and general release of academic stress!
GW4 Crucible Alumni

A highlight of the GW4 calendar is the annual GW4 doctoral event, an intensive two-day residential workshop for PGR students from different disciplines to connect and collaborate across the Alliance.

We renewed our NERC Doctoral Training Partnership and the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership 2 (SWW2 DTP) which includes all GW4 partners along with other universities.

We kicked off 2018 with a season of outreach activities to engage researchers and communities with the potential of GW4 Treasures, which combines over 10km of books and 5km of manuscripts and archive materials.

We launched the GW4 Treasures Colouring Book as part of #ColorOurCollections week and held a series of ‘Wikipedia editathons’.

All four GW4 universities attended the Technician Commitment signatory event at the Tower of London.
The University of Bath joined founding signatories, University of Bristol, Cardiff University and University of Exeter, backing the pledge to support their technicians.

Over 100 delegates attended the first GW4 3Rs Symposium, jointly hosted by the NC3Rs (National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research).

The event brought together researchers and animal technologists to present the excellent 3Rs-related research taking place across the Alliance with showcase talks and poster presentations from each institution.

We also hosted events with external funders including Wellcome Trust and Research England bringing researchers across the universities together to discuss with funders exciting collaborations for 2019 and beyond.

 Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of GW4 this year. Here's to 2019!