May 1, 2014

The first GW4 Alliance projects to receive funding to build research communities focused on tackling some of the world’s grand challenges, have been unveiled.

The GW4 Alliance – an alliance between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter – has released the results of its first GW4 Building Communities programme.

The Building Communities Initiator Fund offers successful projects up to £20,000 to create new, high-quality GW4 research communities or help existing collaborations build on their work.

Drawing together the combined research strengths of Wales’ and the West of England’s leading research intensive universities, the GW4 Alliance – through the Building Communities programme – will enable us to create critical mass and give us a new and competitive edge

according to Professor Nicholas Talbot, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter who Chairs the joint steering group which developed the programme.

The sheer number and quality of the bids received from across the four universities not only reinforces the research excellence we individually have but the potential of bringing this expertise together

he added.

17 projects were successful, worth a total of almost £200,000.

The projects span a range of subject areas. Five are focused in the humanities and social sciences, while seven are in STEM or health related topics and two communities are interdisciplinary.

These research communities will aim to address grand societal challenges including secure, clean and efficient energy, advanced materials, secure societies and health, demographic change and wellbeing.

The full list of successful communities funded under the programme is available at

Following the success of the first call, a second GW4 Initiator Fund call has been announced with closing date 31 July.

The Initiator Fund will again offer up to £20,000 to assist with collaborative community building activities.

Such was the enthusiasm and interest in the Building Communities Initiator programme, we have already opened a second Initiator Fund, and I would urge colleagues from across the GW4 Alliance to get more information and to take advantage of this opportunity,

said Professor Guy Orpen, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol and Chair of the GW4 Alliance Board.

Applications are also open for the GW4 Building Communities Accelerator Fund (Deadline 31 July). This funding is designed to establish structured pump priming activities which will lead to significant external funding opportunities for the particular research community.

Both funds are open to researchers from across the GW4 Alliance, in all subject areas.