Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, Bangor, Professor Roy Evans, has been receiving the congratulations of colleagues both inside and outside the University this week after receiving the 'Achievement Wales' award as Business Person of the year 2001. The prestigious award was made at a ceremony at the University last Friday (16 November) attended by First Minister Rhodri Morgan, TV weathergirl Siân Lloyd and an audience of business and political representatives.
The Achievement Wales Awards are sponsored by the Daily Post, the Welsh Development Agency and HSBC, and the Daily Post. Editor Alastair Machray said: "Roy Evans, in a quiet and unasuming way, has been at the forefront of Welsh Businesses for several years. His opinions are sought from Cardiff to Chester. The way he has built Bangor University into an institution of real strength and reputation is also to his enormous credit. North Wales would be a poorer place without him and I am delighted that we are honouring him tonight."
In accepting the Award, Professor Roy Evans said, "This has come as a great surprise but also a great honour. I take this as an Award for the whole of the University. I am proud of what the University can offer and proud that it is prepared to share its expertise with members of the business community in North Wales."
The Award has come at a time when universities throughout the UK are striving to expand the contributions they make to their regions. Bangor is no exception. Simply by existing in North Wales, the University contributes many millions to the regional economy, but it is also reaching into the community through its education programmes, the 'Community University of North Wales' initiative, its Teaching Company Schemes and support activities with local businesses, and its training for health professionals.
Photo Caption: Professor Roy Evans receives his award flanked by weather girl Sian Lloyd an John Bills, Managing Director of theLiverpool Daily Post and Echo Ltd. Photo courtesy of the Dail Post.
Support to North Wales businesses:
As a major employer in the region, the University is very much aware of its responsibility to work in partnership with other businesses to increase the prosperity of North Wales. Examples of successes during the past year include:
- The University has established the School for Business & Regional Development, a major regional resource for business and management training.
- The University has continued to establish more partnerships with SMEs, and with larger companies, under the TCS programme. This programme provides graduates to work in a company for two or three years on a project chosen by the company, with advice and support being contributed by the University. The TCS scheme is recognised by the Department of Trade and Industry as "the most effective way to transfer knowledge from universities to SMEs". During the year Bangor established its 50th TCS programme; this event was celebrated during a visit by the Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett M.P. to the University.
- Bangor is now in third place in the UK league table of universities running TCS programmes; this is a remarkable success considering the University's rural location.
- In partnership with Sain Records, Bangor won - in competition with over 700 TCS programmes across the UK - the award for "best application of knowledge & technology" under the TCS programme.
- The University has built on this success by launching "Anthem Wales", a network of companies and individuals involved in music and related businesses in Wales. This network is developing a range of activities including the international promotion of Welsh music.
- The University has established the Optoelectronics Materials Research Laboratory, opened formally by Rhodri Morgan this summer, to provide facilities and expertise to businesses involved in optoelectronics product and service development.
The University's contract research (CR) and training & consultancy services (TACS) business revenues exceeded 6M and 5M respectively, each setting new records for the value of such activities.
Support to enterprise:
In addition to developing its own business by winning research and other contracts, and to helping other existing businesses in the region, the University is taking an active role in the development of new businesses. Highlights of this work over the past year include:
- Bangor has established the Wales Spin-out programme in North Wales, in collaboration with NEWI. Two new high-tech spin-out companies - Optical Reference Systems (ORS) Ltd., and Edisus Ltd. - are already trading as a result of this work.
- Two other companies - Aura Oncology Inc. and a joint venture with Vosper Thorneycroft - have been spun out from University activities over the past year
- Enterprise Scholarships are being made available, with support from the Knowledge Exploitation Fund, to recent graduates (from any University) wishing to start businesses in Wales.
- A business facilitator post has been created in the School of Ocean Sciences in Menai Bridge to support graduates and others wishing to establish businesses in areas related to marine science
- A Bangor student in Biological Sciences, Soultana Vavouri, won the WDA technology prize for "healthcare & life sciences" for her work on drug delivery. This work has considerable commercial potential.