A partnership led by Aberystwyth University, which Sgema is lead industry partner on, has received over £5 million in funding from UKRI to research and explore solutions to rural challenges.
Cymru Wledig LPIP Rural Wales, the Local Policy and Innovation Partnership for Rural Wales, connects researchers, communities, and policy-makers to support inclusive, sustainable development. Researchers and policymakers will work with communities from across rural Wales to explore innovative solutions to a range of major challenges faced by rural communities, such issues as the “rural premium” on poverty.
In his role as project co-director, Sgema Senior Consultant Meilyr Ceredig, will lead on the work of business liaison, communications and engagement.
Commenting on the announcement he said:
“I look forward to working with Prof. Woods and wider partners in order to seek to address complex issues facing rural communities both in Wales and further afield. Issues around the ’rural premium’ that makes poverty in rural areas different to that faced in an urban context, as well as large challenges facing us all from reaching net zero, building a regenerative economy, through to Welsh language revitalisation.”
Funded by UKRI, the research partnership aims to fill evidence gaps, explore innovative solutions, and enhance the use of research to support effective policies to foster a ‘wellbeing economy’.
It will focus on the challenges of building a regenerative economy, supporting the net zero transition, enhancing health, wellbeing and access to services, and empowering communities and culture, including Welsh language revitalisation.
The Director of the Rural Wales Local Policy and Innovation Partnership (LPIP), Professor Michael Woods, said:
“Rural Wales faces significant challenges in growing its economy, providing good jobs and housing for local people, and maintaining services to ensure the wellbeing of communities. This is an exciting opportunity to bring together expertise from universities, businesses, the public sector and communities to work towards an inclusive, sustainable future for the region.”
The partnership involves researchers at Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff University and the University of Gloucestershire, along with partners including Antur Cymru, the Centre for Alternative Technology, Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig, Represent Us Rural, Rural Health and Care Wales, Together for Change, and industry partner Sgema. It has been put together under the framework of the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD).
The Rural Wales LPIP is one of four Local Policy and Innovation Partnerships funded by the ESRC, with others in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The research work is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding as part of its work to creating opportunities and improve outcomes locally.