Bringing together researchers from across Wales

The first Spotlight research hub event of 2017 took place in the Life Sciences hub in Cardiff Bay on Thursday 16th February.

The event brought together researchers and policy officers from a variety of organisations across Wales, including the third sector and private research companies. The event was chaired by Dr Lucy Knight and included a welcome address from Chwarae Teg’s new CEO, Cerys Furlong.

The benefits of Modern Working Practices

The first speaker was Dr Hade Turkmen from Chwarae Teg, who presented Chwarae Teg’s new research paper on Modern Working Practices.

The paper analysed perceptions of modern working practices from the perspective of Welsh businesses. It covered a range of modern working practices, including flexi-time, job sharing, compressed hours and results-only working.

The research looked specifically at four priority sectors, which reflect features of the current Welsh business environment. These were construction, energy and environment, financial and professional services and ICT. All of which have low participation of women in the workforce, lack women in senior positions, and have wide gender pay gaps.

The study found that businesses in Wales are generally open to implementing modern working practices and have a positive attitude towards them.

Larger businesses are more likely to have formal policies in place whereas smaller businesses are more likely to provide flexible working options on a case by case basis. Businesses involved in the study cited improved retention and increased staff productivity as benefits of implementing modern working practices.

The full report/executive summary can be read here.

The future of research funding in Wales

The second speaker was Dr Jody Mellor from Disability Wales, who provided information on a new programme of funding, DRILL, which will open later this year.

DRILL aims to fund research projects that involve collaboration between academic researchers and disabled people. A call for proposals will be available after Easter and interested parties should check the website at this time for further details.

Jody’s presentation was followed by a lively discussion on the future of research funding in post-Brexit Wales, given that much current research is EU-funded.

Although it is currently impossible to tell what the funding situation will look like for researchers in coming years, the discussion focused on how we can ensure research funding is being talked about throughout the negotiations and kept on the agenda.

Ideas deriving from the discussion included research organisations working together to strengthen future funding bids and awareness campaigns to publicise the importance of research for everything from laws to public policy.

Chwarae Teg’s next Spotlight event will be in July 2017.