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Research Environment

The University of South Wales is number 24 in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index,  certified as a Disability Confident – Employer and is proud to have achieved the HR Excellence in Research Award acknowledging the support it provides to researchers.  

USW is an inclusive place to work, with a clear commitment to furthering LGBT+ equality across all of our policies and practices through an active LGBT+ Staff Network, LGBT+ Role Models and LGBT+ allies. Members of the unit are active in a number of these groups, as well as the Women in STEM network and Women in Academia. Of the 11 research professors in the unit, six are female. 

Prof Gareth Roderique Davies

Professor Gareth Roderique-Davies

There is a clear framework for progression from lecturer through to Associate Professor and Professor. 

We are strongly committed to supporting and integrating individuals at the beginning of their research careers, as evidenced by the fact that three Early Career Researchers are included in our REF2021 submission. We also ensure that:

  • Senior researchers provide mentorship and guidance to help develop research, outputs and impact.
  • Funding is provided for staff and postgraduate research students to attend international conferences.
  • Staff can take advantage of Research and Innovation Services’ rolling series of training and refresher workshop courses on all aspects of supervising and examining PGR students. 
  • Our 10 Professors Emeritus continue to contribute their expertise.

Our Graduate School provides strong support to staff who are, or want to develop into, research supervisors, examiners and chairs of vivas.

Part of our mission is to generate new knowledge and help people apply that knowledge within a culture of continuous improvement. 

Promoting a high-quality learning environment for our research students is therefore an important part of our approach. 

We have 71 research students; 22 of those are KESS2 (Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships where collaborative funding is provided through the European Social Fund and co-sponsored by local businesses) - further evidence of our engagement with industry partners and a determination to provide our research students with meaningful translational research experience that produces real world impact.

Marie Kess PhD student Psychology

Marie O'Hanrahan, ESF-funded KESS PhD student

The Faculty provides dedicated postgraduate research offices, offering an environment for students to engage with each other from disciplines across the Faculty.  PGRs are encouraged to attend a variety of events such as the annual Postgraduate Researchers Presentation Day and bespoke training.

The Faculty has a Research Student Coordinator, responsible for quality assurance and the research student experience, acting as an independent point of contact for students and the supervision team. PGR students are invited to apply to act as Faculty Research Student Representatives, which involves engaging with the postgraduate research community to provide a student voice. Student reps have set up a Facebook page for postgraduate research students and hold regular coffee mornings. 

Research student stories

Researchers collaborate locally, nationally and internationally with partners from industry and academia to provide world-leading knowledge and impact. We have strong relationships with a range of stakeholders/key research users. 

The unit has an excellent track record of engaging and working closely with NHS and other external partners, particularly Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board which is the university’s local health board. We have very close clinical, research and teaching ties with health board across Wales and internationally. 

Examples of collaborative work include:

Professors Joyce Kenkre and Professor Carolyn Wallace lead a programme on the development of objective of addressing issues of future delivery of services and policy making through to continued funding of the All Wales Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC) since 2005 for capacity and building clinical academic career pathways for nursing, midwives and Allied Health Professionals. This includes collaboration across Wales on the development of the Wales School of Primary Care (now PRIME Centre Wales) and the development of the Wales School for Social Prescribing.

Professor Bev John and Professor Gareth Roderique-Davies have strong collaborations with key policy making groups, voluntary and third sector organisations that facilitate rapid impact of their research. A Welsh Senedd Members’ group commissioned them to lead an investigation of the health and social harms of problem gambling that led directly to the creation of a cross-party group to champion policy and legislative change. They are steering group members of the Beat the Odds Initiative, an international alliance of Recovery groups, including the Victorian Responsible Gambling Federation, Australia.

Dr Deborah Lancastle has developed multidisciplinary alliances in her work in women’s reproductive health, including infertility, ovarian cancer screening, uterine fibroids, and heavy menstrual bleeding. These include the Female Health Special Interest Group (SIG) at the Life Sciences Hub, Cardiff Bay; Gedeon Richter: Preglem; Theramex; Merck Serono; University Medical Centre, Utrecht and Cardiff Fertility Studies Group (Cardiff University).

Dr Philip Tyson has extensive community networks that underpin his research in mental health and well-being in community settings. These include United Welsh Housing Association; Cheltenham Town football club (conducting evaluations of their MENTalk and GIRLTalk programmes); the Football League Trust; Swansea City FC; Clarity in Mind.

All members of the unit are regular expert reviewers for a wider range of peer review journals and funding bodies. Most have positions on journal editorial boards.

The Clinical Simulation Centre replicates clinical environments for education, training and research. These include two, four-bedded bays to simulate a hospital setting, dedicated paediatric and maternity facilities, including a special care baby unit, an intensive care environment and an emergency department with a fully equipped ambulance simulator.

There is a range of low, medium and high fidelity human patient simulators across the age continuum, and sophisticated technologies managed by a central hub to observe, film and record activity across all areas of the Centre. Dr Emma Tonkin, Dr Deborah Lancastle & Dr Juping Yu are currently utilising this resource as part of their innovative Walking in their Shoes research focusing on increasing empathy levels in health professionals. 

The Hydra Simulation Centre is a high-tech experiential training tool that enables the monitoring of group dynamics, real-time leadership and naturalistic decision making in critical incidents. It provides a unique learning and research environment and is used to conduct realistic immersive, simulated scenarios. It was used by Pontin & Wallace, working with Community Health Visitors, as a central part of the validation of the FRAIT tool.

Our psychology laboratories on the Treforest campus house extensive specialist biopsychosocial equipment including CANTAB Cognition Testing Systems, BioPac Systems, Relax Trace Software, Tobii Pro Eye Tracker suites (desk based and mobile), Reflotron Plus Desktop Analyzer for quantitative determination of 17 clinical chemistry parameters directly from whole blood, plasma or serum. These are extensively used by the Addictions Research Group. Recent examples include evaluating potential public health impacts of different types of alcohol product labelling, and the implication for public health of embedded gambling products in premier league football shirts and stadiums (Professor Bev John and Professor Gareth Roderique-Davies). 

See below for images

Research Facilities