UWTSD Catalyst project provides support for businesses impacted by Covid-19


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) through The Catalyst project, is continuing the University’s support for business in response to the impact of Covid-19. On Friday, July 3, UWTSD Professor of Practice John Wood delivered a presentation as part of a four-week remote R&D programme, held with IT Carlow that is helping eight Welsh and Irish businesses to pivot their enterprise and identify new opportunities for diversification and growth.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) through The Catalyst project, is continuing the University’s support for business in response to the impact of Covid-19.

Professor Wood said: “It's great to meet local businesses. Our Metadesign Research Centre envisages a switch from 'business-as-usual' approaches to solutions based on local resilience and wellbeing. We can help companies to uncover hidden assets by harnessing local creativity and goodwill. Ironically, Covid-19 is an opportunity to re-think the really big problems. Climate change, biodiversity, social fairness, Brexit and, of course, economic melt-down, are all interconnected, so we need long-term, joined-up thinking.  Global-scale hi-tech has given us some amazing things but it's time for the next step. Politicians and corporations give people choices but they never ask us to dream. This is a pity, because there is a world shortage of vision."

The R&D Residency programme builds on several other initiatives that the Catalyst project has helped to deliver to support Welsh and Irish businesses. This includes an online Innovation Summit that gave more than 20 businesses the opportunity to hear from international industry experts and explore new routes for innovation and sustainability. In addition, Catalyst, working alongside Urban Foundry, was also involved in the ideation of the new South Wales Food and Drink platform which has brought together independent traders and providers into one place, in a format that is more accessible and searchable than other earlier initiatives. This new site seeks to encourage more people to shop locally and embrace the great quality produce Welsh food and drink businesses serve up. https://southwalesfoodanddrink.com

Catalyst Project Manager Chris Holtom said: “The Catalyst project recognises the impact that Covid-19 has had on local businesses and through an evolving programme of activity is seeking to help supported businesses to not just recover but to diversify their products/ services to hopefully emerge stronger and more sustainable.”

Professor John Wood, along with Dr Julia Lockheart, is leading the development of the Metadesign Research Centre, which along with Catalyst, is based in UWTSD’s Wales Institute of Science and Arts (WISA). The Catalyst project is a €1.6m pilot scheme to drive innovation within Welsh and Irish businesses, predominantly focusing on the food and drink sector. Made possible through the EU’s Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David leads the project alongside WRAP Cymru, the Institute of Technology Carlow, Tipperary County Council and Carlow County Council.

The accompanying image was taken before lockdown at the first R&D Residency event in August 2019. It took place at IT Carlow.

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