Vice-Chancellor news

Vice-Chancellor’s all-staff email – March 2019

Colin Riordan

Dear colleague

Although you probably received this email on 29 March 2019, a day which of course I had assumed would require a very carefully thought-through communication, in fact there is not only little I can say to illuminate matters, but events are changing so quickly that everybody reading this will know more than I do at the time of writing. So despite the huge importance of the questions presently being debated in Parliament, at least I can move swiftly on to other matters and will not detain you long this month.

This month saw two events that formally launched our new Bremen-Cardiff Alliance: a signing ceremony with academic presentations in Bremen and a parallel event towards the end of the month in Cardiff. The ceremonies were of course timed to ensure that we had all arrangements in place and publicised ahead of EU exit day, and in that of course we succeeded with more time in hand than we could have expected. What should give us great confidence about the success of our newest academic strategic partnership is, first of all, the depth of the academic collaboration that already exists in the focus areas of marine science, the interplay of literature and science, and media and journalism. In addition there is a very promising new collaboration in the area of semiconductor technologies. Secondly, there is evident warmth and enthusiasm both in Bremen and in Cardiff for this collaboration, evidenced by the excellent turnout from both sides at each event and the trouble everybody had taken to make them a success. Finally, the mutual determination to affiliate academic colleagues to the partner university in order to facilitate access to funding streams on both sides makes a clear statement about the value we attach to international collaboration in research, whatever happens in terms of Brexit. Please contact Professor Nora De Leeuw (PVC International and Europe) if you feel your academic area might be one that could become involved in due course.  The Bremen-Cardiff Alliance joins the existing strategic partnerships we have with KU Leuven, Xiamen University and UNICAMP: all of them are underpinned by funding for staff outward mobility to enhance our research environment, support global collaborations and help develop the international impact agenda. The deadline for Xiamen and KU Leuven was 15 March, with forthcoming deadlines of 30 March (UNICAMP) and 9 May (Bremen), so please do take advantage of these opportunities if interested.

I’m pleased to say that four Cardiff University subjects have been ranked among the Top 50 in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019. Cardiff University’s highest ranking is in Communication and Media Studies, which is placed 25th in the world. Architecture/Built Environment is ranked at 37, Engineering – Mineral & Mining ranks 43rd while Dentistry comes in at 50. English Language & Literature, Geography, Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Psychology, and Social Policy & Administration all rank within the top 100 subjects. As ever rankings have to be viewed with caution but nevertheless these are not only indications of the international prowess of these subject areas at Cardiff, but testament to the commitment and expertise of our staff and the ability of our students.

Finally, individual congratulations are due to Dr Emily Cock and Ms Susan Greaney, Research Associate and PhD student respectively, both of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, who have been selected as New Generation Thinkers in the initiative run jointly by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the BBC. This prestigious award offers an exciting opportunity for the two Cardiff early career researchers to join with eight others across the country in communicating their research via various media channels but radio in particular, making programmes for BBC Radio 3 and taking part in the 2019 Being Human Festival. I’m sure their work on the lives and beliefs of our ancestors will find a broad audience and that they in turn will learn much in the process of disseminating it.

With best wishes

Colin Riordan