Our Region In Action – The latest in Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusion and Connectivity

Our Region in Action

It may be July, but there’s little sign of any vacation being taken by the organisations and individuals who are bringing alive the four CCR strategic goals of Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusivity and Connectivity.

The past few weeks have seen some remarkable headlines in all four areas, including Cardiff University’s Translational Research Hub opening its doors to solve some of the most pressing commercial challenges being faced in the race to zero … Cardiff Council unveiling a £1.3 million green energy investment across 11 schools … ITV Cymru and Mencap Cymru joining forces to break down learning disability barriers in the creative industries … and Caerphilly-based Awen Collective announcing a cybersecurity solution that will radically enhance SME connectivity in Wales and the UK …



Translational Research Hub opens as a magnet for innovation.

A multi-million-pound Cardiff University Innovation hub where industry and scientists work together to overcome commercial challenges and tackle some of the most pressing problems faced by the planet, is open for business.

Home to two leading research establishments – the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) and Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI) – the Translational Research Hub (TRH) is designed to foster collaboration by bringing industrial partners alongside researchers to design, develop and test new cleaner, greener products and processes.

Funded by UK and Welsh governments, the 129,000-sq-ft. hub is the largest of its kind in Wales – equipped with the latest laboratories, leading-edge offices, shared collective spaces, a bespoke ERDF-cleanroom and state-of the-art microscopy suite –  exemplifying the UK’s and Wales’ commitment to create new collaborative scientific solutions that will usher in a Net Zero world.

Generating new made-in-Wales technological solutions to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges – from healthcare to energy – TRH will help drive forward our region’s climate change ambitions while boosting our efforts to play our part in establishing the UK as a Science and Technology superpower, developing ‘next generation’ practices and technologies that will both shape our lives today and improve our experiences tomorrow.

This new innovation centre of excellence is integral to Cardiff University’s biggest campus upgrade for a generation – with the £45m+ spent creating TRH forming part of the wider £600m investment in the University’s vision for the 21st century – centred around the Abacws building, the Centre for Student Life and the sbarc|spark.



£1.3 million green investment in Cardiff Schools to reduce energy use

Cardiff Council has invested over £1.3 million in energy saving upgrades across 11 of its primary, secondary and special educational needs schools, as part of its action plan to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The initiatives are set to drastically reduce the council’s operational carbon emissions by up to 20% across the 11 sites, as well as saving an estimated £185,000 a year.

Schools are some of the largest energy users within the Cardiff Council estate, so this upgrade of technologies represents a major stride forward in the council’s energy reduction strategy.

Delivered through the Re:fit procurement initiative and funded by Salix Finance (a UK government-funded organisation which provides interest-free loans to the public sector for energy efficient projects), the programme has seen a range of new energy efficient technologies installed across the schools – including solar panels, LED lighting upgrades, fridge and freezer controls, valve and pipework insulation, as well as new systems that optimise building controls and energy usage.

The new technologies deliver reduced consumption and operational carbon savings year-on-year over the course of their lifetime, with the Salix loan being paid back over ten years from the savings made on energy bills, making the funding self-sufficient.

Pupils will also benefit educationally through planned engagement sessions with the schools’ eco teams –  learning about the energy and health advantages being brought about by improvements such as enhanced lighting levels.



ITV Cymru & Mencap Cymru partner to break down learning disability barriers

ITV Cymru Wales and Mencap Cymru have launched a pioneering new partnership to help remove barriers to disabled people seeking to work in the TV and Broadcasting industry.

By working together, both organisations aim to raise awareness amongst employers to ensure that people with a learning disability have greater access to employment opportunities in Wales’ fast-growing media industry – a sector that plays such a high-profile role in our hugely successful Creative Industries (one CCR’s five main Priority Sectors).

As part of Learning Disability Week 2022, a special launch event was held at the Senedd on 21st June, bringing together Mencap Cymru and ITV Cymru Wales employees, as well as people with learning disabilities being supported by Mencap, to celebrate a new partnership focused on ensuring an equal opportunity to succeed in this high-value creative industry.

It’s wonderful to see this new alliance inspiring inclusivity in a sector that’s working hard to rid itself of a reputation for being ‘exclusive’. The partnership is already forging ahead and making wide-ranging impact, with ITV Cymru Wales recently hosting a series of media training days for people supported by Mencap Cymru, all of whom have a learning disability – with these highly practical training days providing a behind the scenes insight into what goes on in the ITV Cymru Wales newsroom, offering real-world experience in presenting weather and news bulletins to camera.



Awen partners with Siemens to offer affordable cybersecurity solutions to SMEs

Caerphilly-based Cybersecurity software company Awen Collective has partnered with global electronics giant Siemens to develop a new, accessible and affordable security solution for small and medium enterprises.

The partnership hopes to lay the groundwork for roll-out across Wales and then the UK – providing much-needed security for the operational technology (OT) every business needs to grow and succeed.

Around half of small businesses (48%) and six in ten medium-sized businesses (59%) report being impacted by some kind of cyber breach or attack in the last 12 months.

Digitalisation – and the growing networking of machines and industrial systems – also brings greater risk of cyber attack on a company’s OT, with higher levels of cybercrime being reported every day by UK businesses.

Despite this, many SMEs don’t – or believe they can’t afford to – prioritise cybersecurity support.

Awen’s partnership with Siemens enables SMEs to buy into a managed security solution, protecting any networked, internet-connected technology, with prices starting from £10,000 – in comparison with the hundreds of thousands of pounds normally associated with setting up and maintaining a robust security operations centre.

The solution is built on Awen’s Dot software that performs Asset & Vulnerability Discovery on operational technology ranging from coffee machines to large industrial robots, including ICS, SCADA and IIoT systems.

With cybersecurity sitting at the centre of digital transformation, it’s hugely encouraging to see a key member of CCR’s cyber cluster creating a unique offering that will empower the SME economy to build in cyber resilience, develop their business impact knowledge, and contribute significantly to improving the cyber maturity of industry in Wales and the UK as a whole.


Discover more about the outstanding work being done in our region through Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusivity and Connectivity – go to www.cardiffcapitalregion.wales


Related News

August brought welcome news in the fields of Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusivity and Connectivity - with the world-leading Games company Rocket Science opening their European HQ in our Region, The Royal Mint launching its own Local Energy Centre, Admiral being named as a top 3 Best UK Workplace for Women, and a new transport collaboration creating an integrated link between Cardiff Central and Cardiff International Airport ….

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