Cardiff Met’s Global Academies: Thinking, Piloting – and Collaborating – Towards a New Normal


Interview with Leila Gouran, Director of Global Academies at Cardiff Met.

To some, academia is still stereotyped as an ivory tower divorced from real life, an institution oblivious to the ‘everyday’ of people, communities and industries. To those who know the work being conducted by Cardiff Metropolitan University, that cliché couldn’t be further from the truth.

We’re addressing some of the most pressing issues faced by society right now

Faced with the biggest health, economic and social challenge in a generation, Cardiff Met’s Global Academies have responded practically and with real purpose to the pandemic, in a way that’s international in outlook, interdisciplinary in approach and impactful in outcomes.

As Leila Gouran, Director of Global Academies at Cardiff Met, explains,

“We’ve done this by thinking, piloting, collaborating and innovating to find workable solutions. Our recently established Global Academies are a prime example of how we oil the wheels of research and innovation. The Academies are addressing some of the most pressing issues faced by society right now, to create inclusive economic growth, to build a sustainable environment for future generations – and to address the human and economic impact of Covid-19.”

Our Academies are at the forefront of meeting the COVID challenge

In fact, the Global Academies have been at the very forefront of meeting the COVID challenge and as Leila stresses:

“If higher education is to continue to address some of the big challenges, we need to be recognised as being part of the solution. We’ve brought together post-graduate students, researchers and stakeholders from Wales and around the world, with a solutions-focused approach that harnesses expertise from all disciplines. Working within our Global Academies for Health & Human Performance, Human Centred Design and Food Science Safety & Security, our research community has repurposed current knowledge and pioneered new thinking to help industry and society work through and around the huge challenges being faced.”

Our Computer Scientists, Bio Scientists, Food Scientists and many other teams are all making a difference

How have the Academies been using their expertise to help businesses and communities overcome immediate and often immense difficulties?

“Over the past few months, our computer scientists have been helping to model the spread of the virus globally, using our data modelling expertise; our Bio Scientists are conducting phases of antibody testing to see if antibodies are long lasting, knowledge that is imperative to our understanding of long-term protection and also the basis of vaccination – and at the height of the pandemic, our Food Scientists collaborated with industry to transform gin manufacture into the production of hand sanitiser to boost supply across the UK. Beyond that, our Zero2Five Food Industry Centre has focused its expertise on supporting businesses struggling to cope with changes in regulations, for example by opening helplines for food safety, technical and supply chain continuity, as well as providing toolkits of resources for food manufacturers – so we’ve been making a real difference on a macro and micro level” explains Leila.

Our work reflects our own values

Cardiff Met’s academics in health, wellbeing and psychology have also conducted research into how the UK public feels about (and are responding to) one of the biggest health crises of recent history; and those findings will help inform public health policy – and as Leila explains, every facet of the Global Academies work reflects the core raison d’etre of the University itself: “our work couldn’t be any more rewarding – not just in the progress we’re making to overcome the COVID challenge and the wider issues of inclusive growth and sustainable living, but also in the way it reflects our own values, which put the health and wellbeing of our students, colleagues and the wider community at the heart of everything we do.”

Cardiff Met will officially launch its Global Academies on December 1st – this is an important event which will showcase the impact the Global Academies are having on research, innovation and education at Cardiff Met, within Wales and across the globe. The event will also explain our plans to develop this exciting initiative in the future. You can register for the event here.

Find out more about our Global Academies by visiting

Why not register to attend our online launch? Find out more and register here:


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