GW4's Academic Year 18-19 Highlights

Take a look at some of our successes over the past year from launching GW4 supercomputer Isambard to funding research communities and hosting our first climate workshop.

We kicked off the academic year at the Universities UK Conference, highlighting how our world class research and innovation can support UKRI’s strategic vision and the Industrial Strategy in tackling major global and industrial challenges.

Throughout the year we have hosted events with our external partners and funders including Wellcome Trust and Research England bringing researchers across the Alliance together to discuss exciting collaborations.

GW4 collaborative research community ‘The Value of Death Network’ launched their research project with a sold-out public lecture in October 2018.

All four GW4 universities attended the Technician Commitment signatory event in November 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.

GW4 Isambard Goes Live

Together with the Met Office and global supercomputer leader Cray we announced that GW4 Isambard, Europe's largest Arm-based supercomputer was live - the first Arm-based supercomputer in the world to go into production use.

Over 100 delegates attended the first GW4 3Rs Symposium in December, 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 ended 2018 on a high with The Great West region recognised in the second Life Sciences Sector Deal.

The government’s report highlights our region’s flourishing life science industry presence realised through several of our regional strengths such as convergence with AI, high performance computing, quantum technologies and world-leading academic expertise.

Researchers from across the Alliance were selected to take part in GW4 Crucible 2019 with the theme Digital Innovation.

 The programme provides exceptional hands-on training and mentoring to develop collaborative research leaders of the future.

We announced funding for 12 new collaborative research communities tackling a range of global, industrial and societal challenges from regional responses of Brexit to diabetes.

These latest Building Community awards bring GW4’s investment in collaborative research communities to over £2.8m.


In March 2019 construction began on the University of Exeter’s VSimulators facility, a national research facility at the universities of Bath and Exeter, which began life as a collaborative GW4 research community.

In a boost to our region, projects led by GW4 universities were selected to receive early-stage funding from UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund.

Projects focusing on cyber security, screen entertainment and environmental science will receive up to £50,000 government funding.

The GW4 Pay Equality Research Consortium reconvened to tackle gender pay gap.

With the second round of gender pay gap reporting showing little progress was made between 2018 and 2019 this GW4 research community will conduct new research into why gender pay gaps remain so persistent.

Facility managers and technicians from across GW4 and in different technology areas attended several workshops throughout April to explore how we can support team science and provide additional cross-institutional support for our Research Technology Professionals.

Over 70 academics and stakeholders attended our GW4 Climate Workshop.

Dame Julia Slingo, former Chief Scientist of the Met Office said: “The GW4 region could become the powerhouse for climate and the environment. It’s great to see events like this encouraging researchers to coalesce around a topic and working at the interfaces of research. It won’t be easy but GW4 has the potential to deliver real change and train the next generation of scientists necessary.”

Supercomputer GW4 Isambard won Best Paper at the 2019 Cray User Group Conference in Montreal.

GW4 showcased in Research England’s Delivery Plan.

GW4 was included in Research England’s 2019 delivery plan as an example of how they support regional consortia; showcasing GW4’s collaborative research and strategic institutional co-deployment of QR funding.

2019 GW4 Water Security Alliance conference 'Delivering water security through co-designed research'.

Over 110 academics, stakeholders and funders joined to discuss water security and to work towards setting a new agenda in the global water challenge.

The GW4 Early Career Neuroscientist Day returned in June 2019, with 100 GW4 researchers attending to discuss best practice, share experiences and hear directly from experts in their field.

Multi-million-pound funding for pioneering new research facilities at GW4 universities.

Research England announced funding for a £100 million digital institute at the University of Bristol and a world-leading research centre at the University of Exeter to solve global challenges.

The projects build on GW4’s regional strengths in digital innovation and our globally recognised excellence in environmental research.

A new report from GW4 research community, the Evidence Information Service project, calls for the establishment of a new National Centre for Universities and Public Policy, to support an ongoing culture change around valuing academia-policy engagement.

GW4 research community hold GW4 Nanomedicine Workshop bringing together consortium of multidisciplinary researchers to discuss key challenges and future directions.

We renewed our GW4+ NERC Doctoral Training Partnership with the first new cohort starting in October 2019.

Thank you to everyone who helped us achieve all this and more over the past academic year.

GW4 has much to celebrate as we reach our fifth anniversary and we look forward to future successes and collaborations.