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Public health professor becomes Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences



A Swansea University public health expert has been honoured by the prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences

Professor Ronan Lyons, Clinical Professor of Public Health at Swansea University Medical School and one of the two Directors at Population Data Science, is one of 60 outstanding biomedical and health scientists admitted to the Academy’s influential Fellowship.


The new Fellows have all been recognised for their remarkable contributions to biomedical and health science and their ability to generate new knowledge and improve the health of people everywhere.

Professor Lyons’s research focuses on the use of health information to support the targeting and evaluation of health and non-health service interventions to improve prevention, care and rehabilitation.

During the pandemic, his team have used insights from the rich health data in SAIL Databank to support policy decisions to protect the public, including providing intelligence to the Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Group and subsequently feeding into the UK’s SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).

Professor Lyons said: “I am delighted and honoured to be selected as a Fellow by the Academy of Medical Sciences.

“This undoubtedly reflects the widespread appreciation of the contribution research conducted using the SAIL Databank make to individuals and society. 


“It is also recognition of the fantastic team science approach in Population Data Science at Swansea University and our dedication to the advancement of health research through our many collaborations across the UK and around the world.”

The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science. Selected from 366 candidates from across the UK, the 60 scientists chosen marks the highest number of new Fellows ever elected.

Academy President Professor Dame Anne Johnson said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome these 60 experts to the Fellowship to help to address the major health challenges facing society.

“The diversity of biomedical and health expertise within our Fellowship is a formidable asset that in the past year has informed our work on critical issues such as tackling the Covid19 pandemic, understanding the health impacts of climate change, addressing health inequalities, and making the case for funding science. The new Fellows of 2022 will be critical to helping us deliver our ambitious 10-year strategy that we will launch later this year.”

The new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy next month.


(Lead image: Swansea University)

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Welsh insulation company partners with Swansea University to explore capturing carbon emissions




Brigend-based insulation company ROCKWOOL Ltd. has announced it is partnering with the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) at Swansea University to research the capture of carbon dioxide.

Researchers are aiming to develop new carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies that can assist Wales and the UK achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


Researchers at ESRI have been working on a process called Pressure Swing Adsorption to separate carbon dioxide from a mixture of gases. To date, this has been shown to work under laboratory conditions and so the next step is to investigate how it works in a real life industrial process.

Over the next 12 months, researchers will be experimenting with different adsorbent materials and operating conditions to determine the most effective method for removing carbon dioxide. Isolating carbon dioxide from a mixed gas stream is an important step in developing opportunities for use or long term storage.

Darryl Matthews, Managing Director of ROCKWOOL Ltd, said: “Alongside ROCKWOOL Ltd.’s membership of the South Wales Industrial Cluster, I am delighted we’re partnering with Swansea University to pilot new technology designed to capture CO2 emissions and are excited about its potential in supporting the drive to Net Zero.”

The demonstration unit is being developed as part of the £11.5m Reducing Industrial Carbon Emissions (RICE) project which has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and is aimed at the deployment of industrial scale demonstrations of new technology.

The carbon capture demonstration unit at Swansea University (Image: Swansea University)

Darryl continued: “Taking these important steps to understand how we can develop CCUS technology further is another important piece of the decarbonisation puzzle for us as a business. The ROCKWOOL Group has long been committed to operating sustainably and in December 2020, ROCKWOOL announced commitments to accelerate the decarbonisation of our business, with specific long-term targets verified and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.”

Professor Andrew Barron the Principal Investigator of the RICE project summarized the achievement, “with 2050 arriving fast, the time for research is over, it is imperative to get new technology onto industrial sites in order to demonstrate viability. Partners such as ROCKWOOL are vital in achieving this goal.”


In 2020 the ROCKWOOL Group announced ambitious, science based global decarbonisation targets that have been verified and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The targets, which supplement existing sustainability goals, amount to an ambitious one third reduction of ROCKWOOL’s lifecycle (Scope 1, 2 and 3) greenhouse gas emissions by 2034 while at the same time continuing the reduce the carbon intensity of production.

These commitments build on ROCKWOOL’s existing status as a net carbon negative company, in that over the lifetime of its use, the building insulation ROCKWOOL sold in 2021 will save 100 times the carbon emitted in its production.

Welsh Government Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “These are the partnerships that will drive a stronger, greener Welsh economy. Putting world class expertise into practice is critical to our journey to net zero and this work means Bridgend will play a leading role in these exciting developments. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support the project through the European Regional Development Fund.”

(Lead image: ROCKWOOL)

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Food & Drink

Swansea to host major international conference on sustainable approach to food pest control




Feeding a growing population while reducing the environmental impact is an urgent challenge, but a major international conference at Swansea University will help by bringing together experts in integrated pest management.

They will discuss new approaches to managing insect pests which will cut reliance on harmful chemical insecticides.


Pests destroy up to 40 per cent of global crops and cost $220 billion in losses, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. Climate change increases the threat further as it makes it more likely that invasive pests can move into new territory.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is based on the principle that environmental issues and food production are inextricably linked.

It aims to encourage healthy crops with the least possible disruption to agricultural ecosystems. It focuses on natural pest control mechanisms and involves biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools being used together in a way that minimises economic, health and environmental risks.

To be effective, IPM also requires different sectors to work together, especially industry, academia and regulatory authorities.

Technology has transformed the field of pest control in recent years. Drones, electronic sensors, robotic crop inspectors and satellite imagery are becoming widely used to protect crops.


Against this background, the Swansea event could not be more timely. The aim is to bring together everybody involved in the agribusiness chain, to present and discuss new innovations and how they are being implemented in crop protection.

Entitled “New IPM: A Modern and Multidisciplinary approach to Crop Protection”, the conference runs from 12-14 September. It is being hosted and organised by Swansea University in partnership with the International BioControl Manufacturers Association UK.

Amongst the topics that will feature are:

• Pest and disease monitoring
• Increasing plant growth and resilience
• Biopesticides – natural alternatives to chemical pesticides
• How different natural pest control measures can work together for greater impact
• Strains of microbes that have been identified but not yet fully assessed for their potential
• Networking and funding opportunities

The main conference programme runs on 12th and 13th September. This is followed on 14th by a networking event, organised by Swansea University’s Research and Innovation Services, which will be an opportunity for academics and businesses to forge links, with sessions on funding opportunities from UK and EU sources.


Professor Tariq Butt of Swansea University, who is organising the event, said: “IPM is essential if we are to protect our food supply and our environment, which are two sides of the same coin.

“The problem is that too often IPM discussions focus on individual elements, such as the role of beneficial species or biopesticides, rather than the whole picture.

“At a practical level implementation of IPM relies on a whole set of accurate, timely and appropriate information, passed to a properly trained decision-maker who, ultimately, has access to a pest-management toolkit that is fit-for-purpose.

“To make all of this happen, it requires a combined effort and the collaboration of industry, academia and the regulatory authorities.

“This conference will provide an opportunity for representatives from all of these stakeholders to communicate and build productive relationships. This will help us develop a new approach to IPM, which is essential if we are to succeed in protecting our food and our environment.


“We will also be revealing plans for the region’s first Natural Products BioHUB, a collaboration between industry and academia to develop new natural products and businesses, creating jobs and training opportunities.”

Dr Ian Baxter of the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association UK (IBMA UK) said: “IBMA UK is delighted to be co-organising this event with Swansea University. The last two years have been particularly challenging for all of us, but this has not been reflected in a slow-down in the rate of technology adoption by growers – if anything, it has been expedited by the obvious pressures on resources.

“This is a perfect moment to get together and exchange information on the latest advances in New IPM.”

(Lead image: Swansea University)

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Engineering and technology trailblazers including Swansea University doctor shortlisted ahead of prestigious Engineering Talent Awards




The annual Engineering Talent Awards shortlist has been released and sees big nominations for corporate leaders including Ørsted, EDF Energy, Dyson and Rolls Royce. 

The national event, taking place in London on 15 September, recognises people with a track record of breaking down barriers to succeed in the engineering and technology sectors and celebrates the organisations with a track record of promoting diversity in the workplace. 


Siemens UK, Costain Group PLC and Transport for London are among some of the biggest organisations nominated for awards with all of them in the running for their employee network groups. Meanwhile, SSE and Rolls-Royce are both shortlisted for their workplace inclusion  programmes which work towards improving diversity across the businesses. 

Students from some of the UK’s biggest universities and recent graduates have also been  shortlisted for awards. Universities represented in this year’s shortlist include Glasgow, Dundee, Bath and Imperial College London. 

A number of individuals are also shortlisted including Dr Patricia Xavier from Swansea University, who has been nominated in the innovation category for developing a new course for engineering students to think more broadly about ED&I.

Dr Patricia Xavier from Swansea University has been nominated

Dr Mark McBride-Wright, founder of the Engineering Talent Awards, said: “There are some fantastic role models in the engineering and technology sectors working all across the UK and so the Engineering Talent Awards rightly shine a light on their successes and ingenuity. 

“This is the one major event in the UK that also gives a huge platform to our country’s engineering businesses as well as the organisations nurturing the next generation. 

“This year, we are particularly looking forward to celebrating the success of women in STEM as well as others from a range of diverse backgrounds. These awards are a major recognition of the country’s finest and emerging engineering talent.”


Rebecca Constable, People Experience Director at McLaren Racing, said: “We are pleased to support the Engineering Talent Awards as part of our ongoing partnership with EqualEngineers, a key member of our McLaren Racing Engage alliance. 

“It’s fantastic to see the depth and diversity of engineering talent in the UK and we look forward to recognising and celebrating the worthy nominees and winners at the awards ceremony”.

Polly Williams, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Royal Academy of Engineering said: “We are pleased to be supporting these awards, which raise the profile of the work that organisations are doing to make engineering more inclusive and recognise and celebrate talented engineers promoting diversity in the profession. 

“The Academy is a vocal supporter of efforts to make engineering more diverse as well as promoting an inclusive culture. These awards will highlight the aspects of our profession that make it a desirable place to work and thrive.”

The full 2022 Engineering Talent Awards shortlist: 

Engineering Apprentice of the Year 2022
Brer Cornish, EDF Energy
Britoni Farrer-Williams, McLaren Racing
Daniel Sanders, WSP
Katie Dennett, Jaguar Land Rover
Nabilah Thagi, Dyson


Engineering Graduate of the Year 2022
Axel Gossart, Xylem
Jennifer Natalie Glover, AECOM
Jess Cliff, EDF Energy
Lorena Souza, Siemens Process Systems Engineering (SPSE)
Michelle Watiki, Rolls-Royce
Nour Badenjki, Subsea 7

Engineering Student of the Year 2022
Hoong Hao Yap, Imperial College London
Isabelle Pickett, University of Bath
Jaris Arleen Alvarez Trujilo, Heriot Watt University
Kaitlyn Rodger, University of Glasgow
Nyasha Mutembwa, University of Dundee

Engineer of the Year 2022
Amitoj Singh, Balfour Beatty
Cameron Salisbury, AECOM
Chrisma Jain, Transport for London
Mark Goudie, SP Energy Network
Michelle Green, FJD Consulting
Morenike Amiaka, PM Group

Engineering Returner of the Year 2022
Katie Ireland, Ørsted
Amanda Miller, SSEN Transmission
Jenne Blake, SCS Railways

Executive Leader of the Year 2022
Kelly Rose Paul, Air Products
Lee Timbrell, Vision Labs
Maria Papadopoulou, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)
Paul Shields, AECOM


Large Employer of the Year 2022
Siemens UK

Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) of the Year 2022
FJD Consulting
STS Defence

Inclusion Programme of the Year 2022
SSE Inclusion & Diversity Programme, SSE
Talent Acquisition Programme, Rolls-Royce
Myriad, Wood PLC

Employee Network of the Year 2022
Ability@BAM, BAM Nuttall Ltd
Ambition Network, Siemens
Disability and Wellbeing Network (DAWN), Costain Group PLC
Females in Transport Engineering (FiTE), Transport for London

Innovation of the Year 2022
Signal processing and AI for an enhanced clinical decision support platform, Nsugbe Research Lab(NRL)
The carbon assessment tool, FJD Consulting
Clean Pig™, Innovolo Ltd
Modularization of electrical containment, MEH Alliance
Hegemonic power and social reproduction, Swansea University, Department of General Engineering


Engineering Society of the Year 2022
Bristol CivSoc, University of Bristol
FemEng, University of Glasgow
HWU Robotics Society, Heriot Watt University
Women in STEM Society, University of Dundee

(Lead image: Tom Dingley)

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