Swansea University celebrates Europe Day 2016

Swansea University flies the flag for Europe Day today (9 May) in recognition of the unification and integration achieved by the European Union and the key developments at Swansea brought into being through European collaborations and funding.

‌In September last year, Swansea University’s new £450 million Science and Innovation Bay Campus opened its doors. Made possible through support secured from the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund, this multi-partner public/private project is widely viewed as the catalyst for what is “likely to be the largest Knowledge Economy project in the UK and one of the top five in Europe” (European Investment Bank, September 2012).

On 15 October last year, The Right Honourable Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, visited Swansea University’s new Bay Campus to officially open the College of Engineering’s Engineering Quarter.

The Engineering Quarter has benefitted from a significant buildings and equipment funding award of €49.4m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Welsh Government.  In addition, the University has attracted £60m of European Investment Bank (EIB) funds – the first EIB investment in Wales.

In April this year, the First Minister also announced a £31m EU-backed investment for a world-class computer science facility at Swansea University. 

The new Computational Foundry, based at the Bay Campus, will be backed with £17m from the European Regional Development Fund and will drive research into computer science and make Wales a global destination for computer scientists and industrial partners.  At the time, Carwyn Jones said: “This funding will help build an internationally renowned facility which will act as a beacon for pioneering collaborations with researchers and industry, attracting further research funding and establishing Wales as a world-leading centre for computer science and innovation.”

Researchers at Swansea University have been highly successful in securing funding for a diverse range of other European Funding programmes, including a number of structural fund projects of significant value to the University and local economy and community.  These include:

The ION Leadership project Led by Swansea University in partnership with Bangor University, this project is backed with £2.7m from the European Social Fund.  The initiative aims to help business owners and managers gain new leadership and management skills and drive forward productivity and turnover in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as in larger organisations.

Swansea University’s Materials and Manufacturing Academy This new £14m EU-backed project will develop the next generation of leaders within Wales’ engineering sector.  Backed by £8.6m of EU funds, Swansea University’s Materials and Manufacturing Academy will provide training in specialist technical and management skills key to the advanced engineering and materials sector.

Materials and Manufacturing Education Training and Learning (metal) This industry demand led project aims to up skill over 360 people in the field of Advanced Materials and Manufacturing.  The project has been made possible through £1.1 million from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

SPECIFIC (Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovation in Functional Coatings) SPECIFIC is an academic and industrial consortium led by Swansea University with BASF, NSG Pilkington, Tata Steel and Cardiff University as strategic partners. At its heart is the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, which is funded by the EPSRC, Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board) and has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

The BEACON+ project Announced in December 2015, BEACON+ is backed by £8 million of EU funds and will see scientists from Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities working with industry to develop renewable materials, fuels and chemicals. The funding will enable specialists in bio-refining to develop research and product innovation with 100 small and medium sized businesses in North, West Wales and the South Wales valleys.

Tephra constraints on RApid Climate Events (TRACE) Dr Siwan Davies, Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University’s College of Science is the recipient of a €1.47 million (approximately £1.24 million) grant for this ambitious five-year project which aims to unlock the secrets of past climate change, by examining microscopic layers of volcanic ash deposited in ancient ice and marine sediments. 

Professor Richard B Davies, Swansea University’s Vice Chancellor said: “The University welcomes the funding for projects received from the EU through the Welsh Government.  The level of funding we have received is testament to the calibre and proven success of our researchers of which we are immensely proud. 

“Our new Bay Campus, described as a ‘global exemplar’ in its use of higher education and industry to drive economic regeneration, has been secured through investment of £60m from the European Investment Bank. It is within the top five developments of its kind in Europe, expected to deliver economic impact in excess of £3bn over a ten-year period. 

“We now look forward to the opening of our Computational Foundry which is set to make Swansea a world-class hub for computer science research.

“The significant funding received through European collaborations shows that we are going from strength to strength and recognises the University’s potential to become a world leading institution, promoting partnership with industry, excellence in teaching and continuous innovation.”