UCL News


Welsh universities form new network in response to UCL report

24 June 2021

Universities in Wales have revealed plans to form a collaborative new initiative to strengthen research and innovation in Wales, set up in response to a 2020 report by UCL Chair of Science and Research Policy, Professor Graeme Reid.

An image of a Welsh flag against a blue sky

The Wales Innovation Network (WIN) is being established after the report, Strength in Diversity, recommended the creation of a new initiative to tap into the diversity of Wales' research and innovation capacity through collaboration.   

Speaking at a preview event hosted by Universities Wales and the Learned Society of Wales, Professor Reid introduced the initiative and highlighted the potential benefits it will bring to research and innovation in Wales.  

Professor Reid (UCL Office of the Vice-Provost Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) said: “Research and innovation make vital contributions to the economy and society of Wales, and its universities are central to this activity. Diversity is an untapped strength of the Welsh research base and, at a time when many universities are experiencing financial pressures and uncertainties, it is more important than ever that Welsh institutions work in partnership to strengthen research and innovation in regions across the country.  

“The Wales Innovation Network will provide an important opportunity to explore the combined strengths of the sector and look for ways to turn the diverse characteristics of Welsh institutions into additional competitive strengths that could offer significant long-term benefits for economies and societies across Wales.” 

Commenting on the initiative and the positive impact it could have on the Welsh economy, Minister for the Economy, Vaughan Gething, said: “The Welsh Government recognises the critical role that research and innovation has to play in delivering our new programme for government. Our aspirations for a healthier, greener, fairer more prosperous, and more equal Wales can only be achieved in an environment that is innovative and transformative.    

“I’m confident that this Network will be an important contributor, not only to our strategy, but also to how we innovate into the future, and how we deliver impact with and for the people of Wales.” 

Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, said: “The Wales Innovation Network (WIN) is a fantastic opportunity for Welsh research and innovation. We are investing in research and development - supporting jobs and growth right across Wales - and are committed to reaching a target spend of 2.4% of GDP on R&D across the UK economy by 2027.   

“The recently-launched UK Government Plan for Wales has set out how we will build back better from the pandemic. Today’s event has shown the creativity and innovation expertise that firms in Wales have to offer.” 

The initiative has also received endorsements from organisations including Swansea University, the Learned Society of Wales, HEFCW, UKRI, Thales and the CBI.  

The Wales Innovation Network will be supported through a new team hosted by Universities Wales.  



Credit: Dean Moriarty on Pixabay