How do Welsh universities advance the world around us?

Today marks the launch of a new portal – www.researchwales.ac.uk – that will showcase some of the shining examples of how Welsh universities advance the world around us.   Among the research being showcased are excellent examples of research work by Bangor University’s academics, these include the following examples.

Mindfulness
Researchers at Bangor University have uncovered strong evidence that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) plays a major role not only in preventing the recurrence of depression, but also in enhancing well-being more broadly. In 2004, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) agreed that the therapy was a cost-effective depression prevention programme and recommended its approach.

Dementia
There are an estimated 36 million people living with dementia across the globe – 750,000 of those in the UK, and these figures are increasing. Bangor University is contributing to the evidence base of interventions to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. An intervention called ‘cognitive stimulation therapy’ is now a recommended and widely used treatment within the UK and internationally. Bangor University’s studies have shown that the differences in cognitive function are of similar magnitude to those associated with the medication currently available. Economic analyses suggest cognitive stimulation therapy could save the NHS over £54.9 million per annum in the UK, over the use of medication.

The Food Dudes
An award-winning programme devised by Bangor University’s Food and Activity Research Unit produces lasting increases in children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables. The Food Dudes are four fictional characters, who happily eat fruit and vegetables, “the source of special energy they need to defeat the forces of evil”. . After the programme was adopted across all Primary Schools in Ireland, for example, children were eating 90% more fruit and vegetables.

A recent independent evaluation report by Elsevier on research conducted by Welsh universities concluded that it was of high quality, efficient and punched well above its weight. With recent figures showing a 37% rise in spending on research and development by Welsh businesses during the past year, we hope the new portal will provide a valuable snapshot of the research work currently taking place within Welsh academia.

To see how our universities are making a significant – and often silent – contribution to the advancement of Welsh society visit our portal at www.researchwales.ac.uk.

Publication date: 2 December 2014