A unique partnership is bringing together 10 universities and NHS organisations in South East Wales to strengthen the impact of health research and improve health and well-being throughout the region.

The South East Wales Academic Health Science Partnership (SEWAHSP) aims to reduce fragmentation in research and development, and accelerate health improvement in line with Welsh Government policies.

“We will be working closely with industry and research funders, and bringing together researchers, managers, practitioners, patient groups, planners and policy makers to help ensure research really delivers,” said the partnership’s interim director, Professor Susan Denman, based in the SEWAHSP Hub at Cardiff University.

“There is some exceptional health research and education in South East Wales, but much of it is being done in isolation,” she added. “We want to make it much easier for researchers to collaborate – this will mean we are all working more efficiently and effectively and delivering outcomes that really improve health in the region.”

The partnership covers an area from the English border to the Vale of Glamorgan in the south and west and Merthyr Tydfil in the north.

“It’s a region that includes around 1.5 million people – half the population of Wales – and it’s very diverse socially, with a range of health challenges, particularly around health inequalities,” Professor Denman added.

The partnership has a series of priority themes:

  • Cancer
  • Cardio-respiratory and diabetes
  • Genetics and genomics
  • Health services and delivery research
  • Infection, inflammation and immunity
  • Neuroscience and mental health
  • Regenerative medicine and healthcare
  • Healthcare education and healthcare education research.

“South East Wales also has an excellent reputation for world-leading research in certain medical fields and a long tradition of excellence in community health-based research,” said Professor Denman.

“We want to build on these and other strengths to promote South East Wales for its record of research excellence to encourage more inward investment and to help recruit and retain the very best professionals.”

The partnership’s member organisations are:

Cardiff University; Cardiff Metropolitan University; University of Glamorgan; University of Wales, Newport;

Aneurin Bevan Health Board; Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board; Cwm Taf Health Board; Public Health Wales NHS Trust; Velindre NHS Trust; Wales Ambulance Service Trust.

SEWAHSP will also explore opportunities for collaboration in other parts of Wales and in South West England.