Success for University in Business and Education Partnerships Awards 2015

Swansea University has been recognised in three categories in the Insider Media Ltd 2015 Business and Education Partnerships Awards, which celebrated the best examples of working between Welsh business and education.

The awards were held earlier this week (Wednesday, November 4) at the Marriott Hotel, Cardiff, and compèred by Wales Business Insider editor Douglas Friedli.

VCThe Individual Impact Award was won by Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, who has driven Swansea University’s new Bay Campus development, which is focused on collaboration with industry.  "He has made a massive difference," said one judge.

Professor Richard B Davies is currently visiting South Korea, where he is one of a small number of senior figures from UK HE taking part in a British Council-led delegation building links and research collaborations with South Korea’s universities and industries.

Speaking from Seoul in South Korea, Professor Davies said: “I was surprised and delighted to learn of this Business and Education Partnerships Awards win and that the University and our magnificent £450m Bay Campus development has again been recognised for its effective partnerships with industry.  Strong collaborative research links with industry have been one of the University’s distinctive features since its establishment in 1920, and are among the best in the UK today.

“The opening of the Bay Campus – designed and equipped to support further growth in collaborative activities with both existing and new partners worldwide, driving innovation, economic growth, and entrepreneurship in the region – heralded an exciting new era for Swansea University.  I would like to sincerely thank my colleagues for their tremendous efforts and our partners for their confidence in us, in helping us turn our vision 10 years ago into today’s reality.

“Our campus development programme is the largest university-led knowledge economy project in the UK and is now considered as one of the best examples in Europe; something of which we are exceptionally proud.”

Also shortlisted in this category were Gary Clayton, operations manager, Airbus Group Wales; Paul Kift, director of business development, Cardiff & Vale College; and Dr David Penney, industrial engagement director, College of Engineering, Swansea University.

ILS buildingThe Commercialisation Award was won by leading independent bio-product testing and development company Bionema, a University spin out company located within the University’s Institute of Life Science.

Bionema’s pesticide technology gets rid of insects without harming the wider environment. The partnership also has the potential to make Swansea a centre of excellence in biological control.

Also shortlisted in this category were Cell Therapy, which developed from Cardiff University and worked with Swansea University; and RUMM, which developed from the University of South Wales; and Superfix, which worked with Bangor University.

‌The Economic Impact Award was won by LEAD Wales and Leading Growth programmes by Swansea University and Bangor University, to develop leadership skills within Welsh SMEs through a mix of formal and informal learning and bringing together entrepreneurs and leaders from the Welsh business community to support each other’s development. “The projects engage with people who might not otherwise get involved," said one of the judges.

LEAD logo2The five-year LEAD Wales programme, which ended in June 2015, was funded by Welsh Government through the European Social Fund and delivered by Swansea University Research Engagement and Innovation Services and Bangor University’s Business School.

Also shortlisted in this category were Aberystwyth University’s oat breeding programme with Senova; Airbus Group Wales with Cardiff University and Welsh Government; and the Life Sciences Hub with Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science, Cardiff University and others.

Speaking about the awards for Commercialisation and Economic Impact, Ceri Jones, Director of Research, Engagement and Innovation Services at Swansea University, said: “Bionema is a great example of the commercial potential of research at Swansea University.  Start-up companies are part of the life blood of the knowledge economy in our region and we are delighted to be able to support the establishment and growth of such businesses through our commercial services division.

“LEAD Wales’ award for economic impact is a fantastic endorsement of the impact one of our flagship projects has had over a five-year period, and testament to the hard work and dedication of all those involved.” 

Insider editor Douglas Friedli said: "Universities and their students alone generated about £4.6bn of output in Wales in the year to 2014. Add in the colleges too, and you have a large and growing part of the economy.

“That economic impact is magnified when universities and colleges work with companies to create great products, boost productivity and develop the skills of the future.”

Swansea University was also shortlisted in the People Development Award for the Swansea University METal Project with Tata Steel; and the Research and Development Award for Bionema with Swansea University, and Marine Power Systems with Swansea University.

For full details of the 2015 Business and Education Partnerships Awards winners visit the Insider Media website here.