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Press releases

Maori All Black Blade Thomson on his way to join Scarlets

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Scarlets are delighted to announce that Maori All Black Blade Thomson will join the region in time for the 2018-19 season.

A Junior World Championship winner, international and seasoned pro in Super Rugby, 27-year-old Thomson currently plays for the Hurricanes.

He was a member of the New Zealand Under 20s team that won the Junior World Championship in 2010. He was first called in to the Maori All Blacks in 2013.

His versatility as a loose forward means he play at number 8, six and in the second row. His impressive 198cm (6’ 5”) frame will add another lineout option to Scarlets’ pack.

Thomson made his Super Rugby debut in 2013, where he played alongside Scarlets centre and Wales international Hadleigh Parkes, and has proved himself to be a dynamic, quick and skilful loose forward scoring seven tries.

Commenting on the news Head Coach Wayne Pivac said; “Blade’s Super Rugby experience will a welcome addition to the pack and the squad as a whole. He is a very athletic, no-nonsense player with a big engine who will be an effective ball carrier both in the wide channels as well as in the middle of the park.

“Blade is highly regarded in New Zealand whilst an untimely injury impacted on his rugby in the last six months but he’s certainly a physical player who possess the skillset to play the Scarlets way.”

Jon Daniels, Scarlets General Manager of Rugby, said; “We have ambitions of competing in the knockout stages of the Guinness PRO14 and European Rugby Champions Cup season to season where strength in depth in the squad plays a huge part. Blade will bring a wealth of experience and will bring an additional physical edge to the pack. We very much look forward to welcoming him to Parc y Scarlets.”

Blade Thomson added; “I’m really looking forward to heading north to join the Scarlets for the 2018-19 season. They play an exciting brand of rugby, finished last season as champions and are continuing to push for silverware in both competitions. I’m excited to join such a world-renowned club but my focus is fully on finishing the current season on a high with the Hurricanes and hopefully lifting some silverware.”

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Press releases

Justin Tipuric named Ospreys captain

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Justin Tipuric will lead the Ospreys this season after he was today confirmed as the Region’s new skipper.

The 29-year old Lions and Wales flanker takes over the role from Alun Wyn Jones, who has held the post since August 2010, making a record 115 appearances as captain – more than double the number of any other Ospreys captain.

Since making his Ospreys debut in November 2009 as a second half replacement in a Liberty Stadium Anglo-Welsh tie against Northampton Saints, Tipuric has gone on to make 155 regional appearances, his tally of 25 tries the highest by an Ospreys forward.

Capped 57 times by Wales and a double Six Nations champion, including two appearances in the 2012 Grand Slam success, the openside from Trebanos has also been on the last two British & Irish Lions tours, making one Test appearance.

Although only confirmed as skipper today, Tipuric has a wealth of leadership experience having already led the side 27 times across the last seven years, since he became the second youngest ever Ospreys captain in January 2011, aged 21, when the Ospreys faced Leinster in Dublin in the Magners League.

Speaking about the appointment, Ospreys Head Coach, Allen Clarke, said: 

“Alun Wyn is a proud Osprey who has led the team with great honour from the front since 2010 both as a player and as an ambassador. In Justin we have another world-class player who leads by example on and off the field.

“It’s important to remember that Al is still a major player and significant leader within our environment, but having discussed the position with him it was clear he believed the time was right for the Ospreys to have a fresh voice as a captain. An Osprey through and through, Justin is the right man for the job.

 “A deep student of the game Tips has a wonderful understanding of rugby, with a steely determination and skill set to match. He epitomises the past and what we aspire to be again. I’ve no doubt he will receive the full backing of players, staff and supporters alike.

“We are fortunate to have a number of players in the environment who are leaders and captains. As well as Alun Wyn, who remains Wales captain, Dan Lydiate, Bradley Davies and Scott Williams have all captained their country, and Giorgi Nemsadze is the captain of Georgia, so Justin has plenty of experience to support him throughout this season and beyond.”

Ospreys Captains

Alun Wyn Jones – 115 games

Barry Williams – 51

Ryan Jones – 47

Duncan Jones – 33

Paul James – 31

Justin Tipuric – 27

Filo Tiatia – 16

Jerry Collins – 14

Tom Habberfield – 14

Rhys Webb – 12

Scott Gibbs – 12

Jonathan Spratt – 12

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Press releases

Rutherford Fellowships awarded to Aberystwyth University

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Aberystwyth University has been awarded five new fellowships under the Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grants scheme administered by Universities UK International (UUKi).

The short-term fellowships are funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)through the Rutherford Fund, with the aim of attracting global talent and strengthening the UK’s research base.

Aberystwyth is one of only 19 universities in the UK to be selected for the prestigious research fellowships.

Professor Chris Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: “The Rutherford Fund opens up exciting new opportunities for international and interdisciplinary collaboration with strategic overseas partners, especially in the Global South. The development of these new research networks will further strengthen our links with the global research community and enhance our reputation as an international research institution that has an impact on real lives.”

Two of the five Rutherford Fellows have been based in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth during the summer of 2018.

Dr Benjamin van der Waal from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, and Dr Peyton Lisenby from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, have both been workingwith Aberystwyth’s Professor Stephen Tooth on the science and management of wetlands in arid environments.

Dr Paul Harvey from Macquarie Universitywill join the research project as a Rutherford Fellow on 25 August 2018.

Professor Stephen Tooth of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, said: “The first three Rutherford Fellows are working with us to try and embed scientific understanding of water and sediment transport processes into wetland rehabilitation and conservation strategies. These wetlands play an important role in terms of supporting people’s livelihoods as well as biodiversity but many are being damaged or destroyed through poor land management or are vulnerable to future climate changes. Through collaborative international research, our aim is to inform the work of policy makers and landowners as we respond to what is increasingly becoming a global challenge.”

In November 2018, a further two Rutherford Fellows from the University of Namibia will arrive at Aberystwyth University. They will spend five months working on research projects related to the management of water resources in arid environments alongside staff from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS).

Photo: Rutherford Fellows Dr Benjamin van der Waal and Dr Peyton Lisenby visiting the Elan Valley wetlands, rivers and dams as part of their research programme at Aberystwyth University.


Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grants: www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/International/funding-and-opportunities/Pages/rutherford-fund-fellowships-scheme.aspx

Department of Geography and Earth Science: www.aber.ac.uk/dges

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences: www.aber.ac.uk/en/ibers

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Press releases

New project to tackle equality, diversity and inclusion in engineering and physical sciences

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Aberystwyth University is involved in a multi-million pound initiative aimed at improving equality, diversity and inclusion in engineering and physical sciences.

A total of 11 different projects have been launched at universities across the UK, funded with £5.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The projects were selected under the EPSRC’s Inclusion Matters call, the first initiative of its kind launched as part of a collective approach by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

Aberystwyth University is a partner on the ‘Challenging Different Forms of Bias in Physical Sciences and Engineering Research’ project, led by the University of Birmingham.

Other partners on the £531,287 project are the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and Vitae, a global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers.

The academics from Aberystwyth University involved in the research include Dr Christine Zarges from the Department of Computer Science, and Dr Sarah Riley and Saffron Passam from the Department of Psychology.

Speaking after the project launch on 9 August 2018, Dr Christine Zarges said: “We are proud to be part of this important research project which will investigate the underlying causes surrounding career progression among women academics and academics from ethnic minority backgrounds working in engineering and physical sciences. Best practice and successful initiatives will be identified and shared across the sector as we tackle together the issues of equality and diversity in engineering and the physical sciences.”

Dr Alison Wall, EPSRC’s Associate Director for Building Leadership, said: “The Inclusion Matters call projects display ambition, creativity and a commitment to addressing the pressing equality and diversity issues facing engineering and the physical sciences. Through new research, innovative approaches and a broadening of activities, they will inform and shape significant cultural change across institutions and share their learning with the whole sector.”

Programme Director Professor Jon Rowe, Director of Research at the University of Birmingham’s College of Engineering and Physical Science, said: “Activities will include looking at how the quality and value of academics’ work is assessed in promotion processes and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) to understand where sources of bias arise. Questions such as ‘Is there a bias when the gender of the academic is known?’ ‘Is it the result of the group dynamic of a panel of assessors?’ and ‘Are women encouraged to work in particular research areas, perhaps those outside of STEM subjects’ will also be addressed.”

Photo: The award winning Physical Sciences Building at Aberystwyth University


EPSRC https://epsrc.ukri.org

Physical Sciences at Aberystwyth University www.aber.ac.uk/en/impacs

Department of Computer Science www.aber.ac.uk/cs

Department of Psychology www.aber.ac.uk/psychology

About EPSRC epsrc.ukri.org

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, it is building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Its portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research funded by the EPSRC has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a healthy, connected, resilient, productive nation.

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Press releases

Funding boost to develop the next generation of academics in the arts and humanities

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership is to receive funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) over eight years to deliver postgraduate supervision, training and skills development from 2019.

The Consortium – a collaboration between Aberystwyth University and eight other universities Bath Spa, Bristol, Cardiff, Cranfield, Exeter, Reading, Southampton and UWE – is one of 10 Doctoral Training Partnership to have been awarded a total of £170 million funding from the AHRC.

The South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership was originally established in 2014 and has adapted and expanded to form a strategic regional partnership which will offer greater opportunities for staff and students alike.

In addition to new members, Cranfield University and the University of the West of England, the consortium has formalised membership with an Independent Research Organisation, the Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum of Wales.

The Consortium will offer postgraduate studentships, Collaborative Doctoral Awards, and training and development opportunities across the full range of the AHRC’s disciplines, with a strong emphasis on collaboration between the members of the consortium and 23 cultural, arts, heritage and industry partners including Aardman Animations, Arts Council South West, Cornwall Museum Partnerships and Historic England.

The South, West and Wales consortium is committed to developing creative approaches across disciplinary and interdisciplinary research that will facilitate the building of a new communities of scholars, researchers and professionals who are flexible and able to respond to both fast-moving research and industry environments.

The funding will allow for the development of a diverse pool of highly trained, skilled and professional researchers who will contribute to the UK’s cultural, economic and social wellbeing.

Professor Chris Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Aberystwyth University, said: “As a research-led institution, Aberystwyth University is committed to supporting and developing early career researchers to undertake world-leading research with impact. This latest funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council builds on interdisciplinary collaboration across a range of universities as well as external partners and professional practitioners, with the aim of delivering excellence in all aspects of research supervision and training. This high quality training programme is a further enhancement to Aberystwyth’s thriving postgraduate community and we look forward to working with our partners as we develop the research talent of the future.”

Professor Edward Harcourt, the AHRC’s Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation, said: “The AHRC is delighted to announce its renewed commitment to the Doctoral Training Partnerships model. Our support for the next generation of arts and humanities researchers is critical to securing the future of the UK arts and humanities sector, which accounts for nearly a third of all UK academic staff, is renowned the world over for its outstanding quality, and which plays a vital part in our higher education ecosystem as a whole.

“We were extremely pleased with the response to our call, which saw high-quality applications from across the UK from a variety of diverse and innovative consortia, each with a clear strategy and vision for the future support of their doctoral students.”

Postgraduate Study at Aberystwyth University

Arts and Humanities Research Council

AHRC commits to postgraduate research through new Doctoral Training Partnerships

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Press releases

Hywel Dda Health Board works with GPs to secure service

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Hywel Dda University Health Board is working with Teifi Surgery in Llandysul to ensure the continued provision of GP services in the area following the resignation of their General Medical Services contract.

The Partners’ decision to resign their contract with the Health Board follows the decision by one of the Partners to leave the practice in January 2019.

This decision by the Practice was not taken lightly and follows a period of close working with the Health Board to try to support the practice.

The best interest of the patients remains paramount, alongside the continued sustainability of the future of General Medical Services in Llandysul and surrounding areas.

For patients this means that care will continue to be provided by the same doctors, nurses and reception staff currently within the practice for the next few months, but the Practice and Health Board will now look to work with the community and neighbouring practices to find a longer-term future that secures this important service for the Llandysul area population.

Patients registered with Teifi Surgery can be assured that services will continue to be delivered as normal for now, and patients are asked to remain registered with the practice while longer-term plans are developed.

The Health Board will be writing to the patients registered at Teifi Surgery to inform them of the situation and inviting them to feedback their views on how these services can continue to be delivered. Both the Practice and the Health Board are working closely together to ensure that patients are affected as little as possible by any changes that need to be made in the short-term or longer-term.

The Health Board’s assistance at this time will ensure continued delivery of services and reassurance to local people and staff, whilst a solution is sought. The opinion of the local community and patients will be gathered prior to any decision about long term provision of the service, and the Health Board will be working closely with the Community Health Council. The Health Board appreciates the continuing support given by the community to the team at Teifi Surgery.

A public engagement drop-in event will be held on Thursday 4th October 2018 from 2.00 pm to 6.30pm in Tysul Hall, Llandysul.

Rhian Bond, Assistant Director of Primary Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The Health Board is committed to maintaining the high standards of care that are currently provided at Teifi Surgery and would like to reassure patients that the provision of these important services will continue in this area.

“We have agreed to work together with Teifi Surgery and neighbouring practices to find the best way to secure services for the patients. We will now work with the existing team and stakeholders to develop plans for delivery of future services.”

For further information your queries can be directed to the Health Board’s Patient Services Department 0300 0200 159, the Locality Development Manager for South Ceredigion Carys Davison on 07773 384876, or email Carys.Davison@wales.nhs.uk

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