UWTSD-based Cerebra Innovation Centre shortlisted for a St David Award


The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), a partnership between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and the Carmarthen-based charity, Cerebra has been shortlisted for a prestigious St David Award.

St David Award

The Cerebra Innovation Centre is home to a team of product designers and is based within UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art. The teams designs and builds innovative, bespoke products to help disabled children to discover the world around them. The products the team designs are desirable and exciting as well as functional, promoting social inclusion and peer acceptance for the children they help.

The St David Awards are the national awards of Wales and are nominated for by the public.  Now in their sixth year, the Awards offer the opportunity to celebrate the nation’s most inspiring and talented people, and to give them the national recognition they deserve.  The finalists and winners are decided upon by the First Minister of the Welsh Government and his advisers.

The Cerebra Innovation Centre team is delighted to have been nominated in the Innovation, Science and Technology category – a category that celebrates the achievements of those who’ve developed techniques or solutions that meet new requirements.

“It is such a privilege to be nominated for an award for doing a job that is so fun and rewarding to do anyway,” says Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at the Cerebra Innovation Centre and Associate Professor at UWTSD.  “I hope this will draw attention to our work so that we can continue to grow and help more children achieve more amazing dreams!”

Professor Ian Walsh, Dean of UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art added: “The University is delighted to hear that the Cerebra Innovation Centre has been shortlisted for such a prestigious award. The innovative and inspirational work of the Centre has transformed countless lives over the past 15-years”.

Ross and the team develop logical, innovative and fun solutions for children with brain conditions.  Their designs aim to reduce some of the social stigma attached to disabilities by making not only functional but also beautiful products for amazing young people. Some of their products are ‘one-off’ bespoke designs, others are made in small batches and some are designed with the commercial market in mind. 

The ethos of CIC is simple – if children can dream big, they can do big.  The work undertaken by the CIC team ensures that children have the opportunity to achieve their goals and to participate in activities from surfing to horse riding - and even take part in triathlons.

Last Autumn, the team at the Cerebra Innovation Centre helped six-year-old Imogen, who has cerebral palsy, reach the top of Pen y Fan, south Wales’ highest mountain, in a specially modified four wheeled mountain bike.

Imogen’s mum, Catherine, explained the difference the CIC team has made to her family.  “Imogen was so thrilled and excited to have completed the climb. It’s only thanks to the team at Cerebra that she’s been able to have this adventure - she’s never been able to do anything like this before because of her cerebral palsy,” says Catherine. “There have been so many times that she hasn’t been able to join in with physical activities which leaves her feeling left out. Being able to do things like this is a real boost to her confidence and self-esteem. We really are over the moon that CIC have been shortlisted for this Award.”

The winners of the nine St Davids Awards categories will be announced at a special ceremony that takes place on March 21st.

The Cerebra Innovation Centre is a collaborative partnership between Cerebra and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David with the team based at the University’s Alex building in Swansea.  CIC is also part of ATiC – the Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre within the University – and has a demonstrable track-record in providing practice-based research and development to support medical companies and healthcare related charities.

ATiC’s work is primarily human-centred and innovation-led which enables researchers to collaborate with businesses to develop creative interventions that improve health and wellbeing.  It is designed to support research collaborations in the life-sciences across Wales and builds upon UWTSD’s record of delivery in developing Research and Innovation excellence in the field of Health and Social Care.

For more information on the charity Cerebra, please visit www.cerebra.org.uk

Note to Editor

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Principal Communications and PR Officer on 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk