GW4 funds first collaborative Development Award projects

January 12, 2023

The GW4 Alliance has funded three projects as part of the new GW4 Building Communities Development Awards.

This ongoing funding scheme provides awards of up to £5K to support new or existing research and innovation collaborations across the GW4 universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter by funding single activities or resources.

The successful projects plan to expand the existing GW4 Libraries partnership, develop the Menarche, Menstruation, Menopause and Mental Health (4M) consortium and create a new GW4 Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity Hub.

The GW4 Libraries partnership will use their award to undertake a scoping exercise of the open research infrastructure and policies across GW4. This will help to develop a roadmap identifying opportunities for grant capture and further collaboration, potential for shared services and aligned consistent approaches.

Director of Library Services at Cardiff University and lead on this project, Tracey Stanley, said: The GW4 Libraries partnership is already an engaged and active community. This award is a fantastic opportunity for us to identify new opportunities for collaboration, aligned to GW4 research and innovation priorities, and assist the GW4 Library Directors in establishing collective strategic priorities moving forward.”

The Menarche, Menstruation, Menopause and Mental Health (4M) consortium was established by the GW4 Generator Fund in 2021 to facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary research into how menstruation interacts with mental health.

Associate Professor at the University of Exeter and 4M lead, Dr Gemma Sharp, said: “Our original GW4 Generator funding enabled us to develop a successful collaborative research and innovation community. We held a series of workshops, submitted interdisciplinary grant applications and grew the consortium to include other institutions outside GW4. The challenge for us now is to build on this strong foundation. This funding will help us launch a seminar series to further develop our reputation as a community of experts in menstrual and mental health. We will also increase our online visibility and academic and public engagement by creating new content for our updated website and social media.”

The third successful project, the GW4 Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity hub, aims to build a new community of EDI practice in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) with the goal of achieving cultural change across the GW4 institutions in this area.

Senior Lecturer and School EDI chair at Cardiff University, Cosimo Inserra, said: “Many of us involved with this community have organised initiatives previously. However, there are limitations in the single department and institution approach as they can lack the power to change the overall culture of organisations. GW4 includes tens of STEMM departments and is the perfect platform to create the first STEMM EDI hub in the UK, a community of practice developing coherent methodologies and good practices to support other academic institutions to nurture inclusive environments”.

GW4 Alliance Director, Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE, said: “We launched the Development Awards last year, complementing our existing Generator Fund, to provide more flexible opportunities for academic collaboration and to further support innovative multidisciplinary activity. I am pleased to see the diverse range of research areas and topics covered by these first successful projects. I look forward to watching their collaborations grow stronger and hope this award helps them to secure further funding.”

GW4 Building Communities Funding supports both the creation of new GW4 communities and the development of the strongest ideas emerging from our existing communities, and is open to any academic area. To date, the GW4 Alliance has invested over £3.1M in 112 collaborative research communities, which have generated £62.8M in research income. This means that for every £1 GW4 spends on collaborative research communities, GW4 captures an impressive £20 in external research awards.

Find out more about the GW4 Development Awards and Generator Fund.