Sêr Cymru 1 Evaluation

The Sêr Cymru (“Stars Wales”) programme is designed to strengthen Wales’s research capabilities. The programme was developed as part of the 'Science for Wales' strategy announced in 2012. This strategy set out a vision for Welsh Government to develop a strong and more dynamic science base that can contribute to economic development and the broader welfare of society. Co-funded by Welsh Government and Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), Sêr Cymru 1, launched in 2012, and the focus of SQW’s evaluation, sought to deliver against this intent through attracting scientific talent into research posts in Wales, and supporting the development of the existing research infrastructure, through two strands of activity:

  • Research Stars: the appointment of four internationally-renowned academics to chairs at Welsh universities, with additional support for their research teams and other research infrastructure requirements.
  • National Research Networks (NRNs): establishing and delivering research networks in 'Grand Challenge' areas identified in Science for Wales. The Networks provide a combination of research funding, capability development, and networking activity to develop existing research communities and capacity in key areas.

The evaluation indicates that Sêr Cymru 1 was both timely and proportional. Overall Sêr Cymru 1 has performed well, exceeding output targets at this stage, and both the Research Stars and NRNs have achieved positive effects on early career researchers, including attracting researchers to Wales and enhancing their capacities, confidence, and relationships.

It is too early to draw definitive conclusions on the ultimate success of Sêr Cymru 1; it will take time for longer term (especially economic) outcomes to be realised. The report’s recommendations focus on the delivery and continued funding of Research Stars and NRNs, and support for future delivery of Welsh Government funded scientific research programmes.

Read the full report here.

For more information regarding the evaluation, please contact SQW’s Project Director Joe Duggett.