The GW4 Alliance has invested over £2.9m in 93 collaborative research communities, which have generated over £46m in research income. This means that for every £1 GW4 spends on collaborative research communities, GW4 captures over £15 in external research awards.

The GW4 Alliance has adopted the Russell Group Research Integrity Statement of cooperation in cross-institutional research misconduct allegations, which aims to support the efforts of researcher communities to foster research integrity (also known as good practice in research or the responsible conduct of research).

Explore our GW4 research communities by keyword or theme. (All communities are also listed below in alphabetical order).

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Aerospace and Advanced Engineering

Creative and Cultural Economy

Digital Innovation

Living Well

New Energy Systems

Next Generation Microelectronics

Resilience, Environment and Sustainability

Composites for Enhanced Lightning Performance


Project period: May – July 2014

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Richard Butler
University of Bristol: Fabrizio Scarpa
Cardiff University: Manu Haddad
University of Exeter: Chris Smith

Project overview

This project addresses the ‘Advanced Materials’ grand challenge through the development of innovative lightweight materials and coatings with improved mechanical and electrical properties under lightning strike for the aerospace sector.

Controlling Nucleation & Growth to Deliver Novel Materials Functionality


This project has been developed from the Initiator funded Functional Materials Far from Equilibrium community.

Project period: May to November 2015

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Professor Johannes Zimmer
University of Bristol: Dr Isaac Chenchiah
Cardiff University: Dr Stefano Leoni
University of Exeter: Professor David Wright

Project overview

In materials, nucleation is the formation of a new stable phase or structure via self-organisation. It manifests in many everyday phenomena, and a classic example is the formation of ice crystals in water.

Functional Materials Far from Equilibrium


This project has been awarded Accelerator funding for the Controlling nucleation & growth to deliver novel materials functionality community.

Project period: October 2014 – January 2015

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Johannes Zimmer, Chris Bowen
University of Bristol: Isaac Chenchiah
Cardiff University: Nicolas Dirr
University of Exeter: David Wright

Project overview

Established new cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional contacts from a wide range of departments (Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics) at all GW4 universities.

GW4 Network on Advanced Molecular Platforms for Plastic Photonic Technologies (AMPHOTECH)

Accelerator Fund

Project period: July 2016 – March 2017

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: G. Dan Pantos
University of Bristol: Sara Nunez-Sanchez, Ruth Oulton, Martin James Cryan
Cardiff University: Stephen A Lynch
University of Exeter: William Leslie Barnes

Project overview

We will address the development of photonic applications for these molecular materials by combining multidisciplinary expertise and perspective from the four South West Universities (Exeter, Bristol, Cardiff and Bath) including plasmonics, nanophotonics, quantum photonics, ultrafast spectroscopy or supramolecular chemistry.

Unlocking the Science for an Autonomous Structural Health Monitoring System

Accelerator Fund

Project period: October 2014 – April 2015

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Alicia Kim
University of Bristol: Stephen Hallett
Cardiff University: Carol Featherston
University of Exeter: Meiling Zhu

Project overview

The integrity of critical structures such as aircraft wings is currently assured by scheduled inspections. These are costly, in terms of the activities themselves, and more critically the downtime involved, and in the majority of cases find no significant deterioration.

Network for critical engagement with the defence establishment


Project period: January – March 2018

GW4 Community Leads

Cardiff University: Dr Victoria Basham

Cardiff University: Dr Huw Bennett

University of Bath: Professor Paul Higate

University of Exeter: Dr Owen Thomas

University of Bristol: Professor Tim Edmunds

Project outcomes

Our network will foster dialogue on how dissenting voices on defence and security are articulated in Britain, and on how that dissent can be received productively by policy-makers and the wider public.