Case Study: Marine Research, Swansea University
Swansea University is a research-led university founded in 1920. It has two campuses situated directly at the stunning waterfront of Swansea Bay at the South Wales (UK) coast. The location is perfect for coastal and marine research. Topics range from marine renewable energy to habitat restoration and algae cultivation.
During the past decade, marine research has been increasingly international and integrated in wider European programs, for example, ECOSTRUCTURE, which develops biodiversity enhancing infrastructure concepts or MARIBE, assessing opportunities for combining Blue Growth and Blue Economy. There is close collaboration between the Colleges of Science and Engineering. Swansea’s GRRIP lead Dr. Ruth Callaway (Biosciences, College of Science) recently published a study in collaboration with colleagues from Engineering, where they joined detailed wave and tidal current models with empirical ecological information. Much of the ongoing research aspires to help the commercial marine and coastal sector in Wales, for example, the €17m partnership program SEACAMS2.
The participation of Swansea University in GRRIP is timely since scientists increasingly collaborate with institutions outside academia. The university acknowledges its reliance on partners in industry, government and the wider society. It is also committed to RRI objectives, such as a rigorous ethics procedure and gender equality; Ruth Callaway is the co-chair of the departmental AthenaSwan group. While some progress has been made during the past years towards RRI objectives, this was not always evidenced and is difficult to quantify. There is also no systematic strategy towards an RRI agenda. The motivation for Swansea University to participate in GRRIP is to assist in the development of tools for a more unified, practical approach towards RRI goals.