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Economy Minister celebrates science and engineering excellence at Swansea University

Swansea University’s impressive track record in delivering collaborative research projects to produce cutting-edge technologies across South Wales was recognised today (July 5th) with a visit from Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart.

Swansea’s recent collaboration with Cambridge University, Imperial College London and Manchester University in forming the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing is being marked with a special exhibition.

The Minister and industry experts from Wales visited the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) and saw new products being developed locally for use in the LAE industry, which provides electronic solutions for areas much bigger than the dimensions of a typical circuit board, such as a large-screen TV.

Picture: Left to right: WCPC Director Professor Tim Claypole, Swansea University Vice-Chancellor Richard B Davies, Edwina Hart, Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport and Sir Roger Jones OBE, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Swansea University’s Council

The University’s EPSRC status was secured earlier this year after the Welsh Government’s EU-backed Academic for Expertise (A4B) programme played a key role in securing a share of the £5.6million awarded in total by the EPSRC to the LAE Centre.

Swansea was chosen alongside the other universities as exemplar models of how structural funds can be used in combination with research council funding. Swansea University received £1.4million as one of those identified as an academic centre for excellence for the Large Area Electronics (LAE) industry.

Utilised by academics at Swansea University’s WCPC, the funding is supporting ongoing research and development work with a range of local companies working within the LAE field.

Speaking during the visit, Ms Hart said: “Swansea University’s work in supporting the research and development of new technologies emerging from a wealth of talented local businesses is becoming increasingly important to the Welsh economy.

“It is widely accepted that success depends on research, business and education communities working in partnership with the Welsh Government to build a strong, dynamic science base supportive of the economic, social and cultural life of Wales.”

Ms Hart continued: ”The work undertaken at Swansea is an excellent example of how collaborative working across Wales is helping Welsh businesses continue to thrive as part of the wider Science for Walesobjective.”

Ms Hart continued: “The Welsh Government is delighted to have supported Swansea University in joining the EPSRC Centre and I saw early results of this partnership at today’s exhibition.”

Partner companies including Tectonic International from Aberdare and Axiom Manufacturing based in Newport are among those who showed the Minister products and processes already developed with support from the WCPC.

These include a next generation version of elements used in low-energy lighting, and the development of cutting-edge image carriers for use in the printing industry.

WCPC Director Professor Tim Claypole, said becoming involved in the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacture for LAE meant the impact of the Swansea centre’s research was being felt more widely than ever.

Professor Claypole said: “Being part of this partnership allows the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating to share best practices identified during research and development with local businesses for the benefit of the wider industry across Britain and Europe.

“In turn we are bringing the expertise shared across all four academic centres involved back to a cluster of companies that collaboratively are bringing Wales to the fore as an emerging region of excellence for the development of functional materials within the LAE industry.”