HRH The Prince of Wales celebrates his scholars' success

Posted on 12 July 2010
POWISHRHCellTherapy-Press

HRH The Prince of Wales meets POWIS Scholars from Cell Therapy Ltd (photo: Rhys Webber)

A year after launching the Prince of Wales Innovation Scholars (POWIS) programme, the Chancellor of the University of Wales, HRH The Prince of Wales, welcomed the first cohort of the POWIS scholars to his official Welsh residence in Llwynywermod, West Wales, in celebration of the project’s success.

A Clarence House spokesperson commented:

“The Prince of Wales was delighted to meet the first group of participants from The Prince of Wales Innovation Scholars programme following the launch of the project last year. His Royal Highness was keen to hear of the scholars' progress through their work with the University of Wales Global Academy.”

Also present at the event were representatives from 21 POWIS-participant companies, all playing an integral role in injecting new ideas and energy into the Welsh economy. One such company in attendance was Swansea's Cell Therapy Ltd, whose research into stem cell therapies is an example of the achievements aided by the support and collaboration of the Global Academy.

Under the guidance and leadership of Nobel Laureate Professor, Sir Martin Evans, three POWIS scholars are working within the Cell Therapy Ltd team, in cultivating the world’s first stem cell product that reduces the size of scarring induced by heart attacks. The product has the potential to massively increase the life expectancy for 5million sufferers per year by utilising patients’ own cells. This revolutionary stem cell treatment will also be among the first class of next generation medicines that are adaptive and personalised to the individual.

Cell Therapy Ltd’s collaboration with POWIS brings together the research excellence of three prestigious universities in a pan-Wales alliance: the University of Wales, together with Cardiff and Swansea Universities which demonstrates how higher education institutes in Wales, in times of austerity, can cooperate for the overall benefit of an enhanced knowledge-based economy.

CEO Ajan Reginald of Cell Therapy Ltd said:

‘We found the POWIS scheme to be of tremendous value, enabling us to recruit some of the best and brightest students from not only Wales, but across the globe too. This unique scheme therefore enables us to combine world-class science and intellectual capital to develop next-generation medicines that can help people from Wales and the world at large.’

The POWIS venture is an innovative £11.4million initiative, which brings the private sector in Wales together with higher education and bright young graduates from across the globe; current POWIS scholars hail from various corners of Europe, Africa, Asia and America – testament to the initiative’s growing international links.

With each scholarship worth £100,000, POWIS is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Assembly Government, private sector investment and the University of Wales’ own funds. The scheme is working towards providing 100 world-class graduates to Welsh businesses between 2009 and 2014, supporting them through a programme that is amongst the best financially supported PhD packages in the world.

The University of Wales Vice-Chancellor Professor Marc Clement said:

‘It is a great pleasure to be able to present the first cohort of POWIS scholars to the University’s Chancellor, The Prince of Wales, a year after His Royal Highness launched the programme. As well as celebrating the success of the first year of the scholarship programme, we were also delighted to be working with Professor Sir Martin Evans and with His Royal Highness to enable the major new PoWIS collaborative project between Cardiff and Swansea Universities and the University of Wales. This initiative exemplifies the continuing work of the University of Wales with other universities and with business to benefit the whole of Wales.’

/Ends

Notes to Editors

About POWIS:

Each POWIS scholarship places a world class scholar in a company for a period of three years during which time they undertake research and development on any aspect of the company’s work; whether that is to improve the company’s products and service, their internal processes or the way that they interact with other companies.

POWIS Scholars are expected to be based with their host company in Wales on a full time basis and use the outcomes of that time to complete a PhD. It has to be a mutually beneficial agreement, with the company and the scholar both getting the greatest possible advantage from the programme.

Launched in 2009 by HRH The Prince of Wales, the POWIS scheme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and investment from the University of Wales itself, has an £11.4M budget with which to encourage Welsh companies to undertake collaborative R&D innovation projects.

For more information about the Residential and the Global Academy please email: global.academy@wales.ac.uk or visit: www.globalacademy.org.uk/

To find out more about POWIS please email: powis @wales.ac.uk or visit www.globalacademy.org.uk/
For more information on The University of Wales please visit: www.wales.ac.uk

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