Press Releases 2014-2015

Report Reveals World-Leading Role for UWTSD Art and Design Research


Wales’ oldest art college at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has been recognised for the outstanding quality of its research in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 results released today (18/12/14). 

Art and Design

95.8% of research undertaken by the Faculty of Art & Design at UWTSD Swansea, along with its academic partners in the Wales Institute for Research in Art & Design (WIRAD), is world leading or internationally excellent/recognised.

One of the centres linked to WIRAD which demonstrates social and economic impact is the Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre (CIRIC) at UWTSD. CIRIC supports the creative industries in Wales, with a particular focus upon the digital economy, and it has seen a turnover of £1.6 million since 2008.

Art and Design researchers from the University contributed to the REF 2014 submission with work from a number of different disciplines. This includes acclaimed projects by internationally celebrated artists such as Professor Tim Davies, Professor Sue Williams, Professor Karen Ingham, Professor Andrea Liggins, Dr Catrin Webster, Ainsley Hillard, Craig Wood, Professor Howard Riley and Dr Robert Shail.

More information about art and design research at UWTSD can be found at

Dr Ian Walsh, Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design, said: “I’m delighted that Art and Design at UWTSD Swansea has been recognised for the outstanding quality of its research.  Working in collaboration with our partners in WIRAD we have seen that the majority of our research has been judged as world leading or internationally excellent for its impact. It is particularly pleasing to note that we are joint first in the UK for our impact and research environment.”

WIRAD was established in 2007 as a strategic response to developing the research infrastructure in a challenging Higher Education environment. It is comprised of three academic institutions - University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and the University of South Wales together with the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and the Centre for Alternative Technology- bringing together over 90 researchers.

WIRAD’s continued goal is the development of research at the highest level. The 2014 – 2019 strategy will consolidate WIRAD as a sustainable base for Welsh Art and Design research, focussing on five strands: People; Impact; Strategic External Funding; Policy Influence and Collaboration.

Note to Editor

1. Research Excellence Framework 2014

The four UK higher education funding bodies [Note] allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research. They aim to support a dynamic and internationally competitive UK research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

2. Aims of the Research Excellence Framework

To distribute funds selectively on the basis of quality, the funding bodies assess universities’ research through a periodic exercise. This was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and was last conducted in 2008.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaced the RAE. It assessed the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. The results will be published in December 2014 and will be used by the funding bodies to allocate block-grant research funding to universities from 2015-16.

As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits, and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

3. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University.

Further Information

For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer, on 07872 423788 or email