The GW4 Generator Showcase and Launch Event on Tuesday 23rd May, at the Watershed in Bristol, marked the official launch of this year’s GW4 research and innovation communities and showcased the collaborative efforts and achievements of previous communities.
The GW4 Building Communities Generator Award offers funding of up to £20k to enable both new and existing research groups to collaborate across GW4 (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities) along with external partners.
Each of the ten awardees delivered a short presentation introducing themselves and outlining their research community aims. The diversity of the new projects covers a wide range of disciplines from supporting refugees to sustainable food consumption.
Dr. Harriet Mills, GW4 Building Communities Manager, explained how GW4’s research and innovation communities, consisting of academics across GW4 and from over 100 other institutions spanning 41 countries, have fostered connections and collaboration that have led to groundbreaking research. With an impressive network of more than 400 external partners, GW4 communities have demonstrated the power of interdisciplinary work and the ability to create lasting global and societal impacts.
“The launch was an amazing opportunity to come together and see the huge diverse range of funded projects. It was also the perfect opportunity to harvest tips, tricks, and ideas from communities that had previously been funded.” Dr Rosie Nelson, PI of Queer Frontiers said. “Our network came away feeling invigorated and excited to move forward with arranging our series of events, whilst being well supported (and well fed!)”.
The morning also presented an opportunity to celebrate another recently launched GW4-funded community, the GW4 Clinical Trial IT and Data Management group. As part of GW4’s commitment to supporting technicians in the region, this community will build on the success of the GW4WARD programme by providing support for data management in clinical trials.
Following the launch presentations, the spotlight shifted to Generator Fund success stories with communities sharing their accomplishments and insights gained throughout their journey. Dr Gemma Sharp shared the success of the 4M community, highlighting how the Generator Fund enabled the community to facilitate interdisciplinary, stakeholder-informed, impact-focused research at the intersection of mental health and menstruation. Dr Michaela Serpi highlighted the community New Drugs to tackle AMR, emphasising the power of collaboration across GW4 institutions in developing antimicrobial compounds to inhibit important human pathogens.
Professor Marcus Munafo, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Research Culture at the University of Bristol and GW4 Board member chaired a panel consisting of Generator Principal Investigators (PIs) from the 2021 and 2022 cohorts, whose insights shed light on the challenges they faced and the strategies employed to nurture collaborative environments that foster innovation and change.
The new communities also heard how the GW4 team can support them in their journey, outlining the resources and opportunities available, from communications support to research and development opportunities.
“The event was a great opportunity to meet my new team and get excited about the research to come. It also provided a whole range of useful thinking points about how to make our research collaboration the best it can be.” Dr Nick Gill, PI of Forcibly Displaced Students, explained.
"The GW4 Generator Showcase exemplifies the spirit of innovation and collaboration that defines our alliance.” GW4 Alliance Director, Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE explained. “It is truly inspiring to witness the diverse and impactful projects that have emerged from our communities. These initiatives not only demonstrate the depth of talent within GW4 but also highlight our commitment to driving forward groundbreaking research and fostering transformative partnerships. The Generator Showcase is a testament to the remarkable achievements and potential that lie within our alliance."
The 2023 GW4 Generator Showcase and Launch Event focused on promoting the power of collaboration, fostering innovation, and nurturing a community of change-makers. Through supporting researchers in their career development and research interests, GW4 reaffirms its commitment to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and catalysing innovation.