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GW4 Alliance announces funding for 10 new research and innovation communities

GW4 Alliance announces funding for 10 new research and innovation communities

The GW4 Alliance, which brings together the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, has announced funding for 10 new research and innovation communities as part of its Building Communities Programme, ahead of its 10-year anniversary. The programme aims to foster world-class research and innovation to address some of the most challenging problems the world faces today across the economy, society, the environment, and well-being.

This year, there is a vast range of research and innovation communities funded via GW4's Generator Fund, spanning a variety of research topics from geology to public health, refugees, and LGBTQ rights. All the new communities include at least three GW4 institutions, exemplifying the strength and value of our collaborative approach to research.

These new communities are in addition to the existing 100 collaborative research communities, which have cumulatively generated over £62.8m in research income since their formation. Overall, for every £1 that the GW4 Alliance funds through these communities, £20 is captured in external research awards.

GW4 Alliance Director Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE said: “As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we’re excited to announce these 10 new research and innovation communities. It’s great to see a number of these communities involving ECRs, as we strive to support researchers at all stages of their careers. Each of the communities has the potential to create real-world impact to change people’s lives, and we are proud to unite researchers across institutions towards a common goal.”

The 10 newly funded research and innovation communities are:

The Brain Tissue Engineering Community

Dr James Armstrong, University of Bristol

Providing practical training to develop complex brain tissues for treating severe and incurable conditions.


Fertility: In Vitro, in Silico, In Clinico

Dr Katerina Kaouri and Dr Thomas Woolley, Cardiff University

Determining how IVF success rates could be improved by using modelling, data science, and AI and enhancing cross-disciplinary collaborations.


Forcibly Displaced Students in Higher Education

Dr Nick Gill, University of Exeter

Generating research-informed innovations to improve access to higher education for forcibly displaced persons.


GW4 Community Studying Fatigue in People with Multiple Long-term Conditions

Dr Jennifer Davies, Cardiff University

Developing targeted interventions for reducing fatigue in those who face multiple long-term conditions, who are therefore more vulnerable to experiencing severe fatigue.


GW4 Plant Epigenetics Community

Dr Hans-Wilhelm Nützmann, University of Bath
Dr Tamara Lechón Gomez (co-PI), Cardiff University

Establishing a framework around epigenetics in plants to unlock new traits and revolutionize plant breeding.


GW4 Sustainable Food Consumption Research Community

Dr. Pan He, Cardiff University

Promoting sustainable food consumption by exploring consumer decision-making and socioeconomic factors to shift consumer preferences.



Professor Carrie Lear, Cardiff University

Utilising Micro-TIMS mass spectrometry to enable analysis of small samples and reveal hidden environmental variability for new research opportunities in various fields.


Queer Frontiers

Dr Rosie Nelson, University of Bristol

Creating a sustainable GW4 network of early career scholars exploring new frontiers in queer lives, experiences, and rights.


Understanding the Support Available to Refugee Children and their Families

Professor Sarah Halligan, University of Bath

Studying the support available to refugee children and their families to develop an international framework for identifying key barriers and achieving good mental health outcomes.


Volcanic Plumes from the Seafloor to the Edge of Space

Dr Thomas Aubry, University of Exeter

Exploring volcanic plumes from the seafloor to the edge of space to understand their generation, dynamics, and environmental and societal impacts.


The GW4 Alliance is proud to drive innovation and economic growth across South West England and South Wales by fostering world-class research through collaborative projects, shared resources, and partnerships with external organisations.

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter