Celebrating research quality and links with industry
The visit by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was another important milestone in the distinguished history of Cardiff University.
The day-long event, organised by Buckingham Palace with advice from the Department of Trade and Industry, served to emphasise the relevance and value of research undertaken at the University and the University's success in building effective partnerships with industry for the transfer of technology.
"To be selected for such a visit, devoted entirely to the University and its related work, is a singular honour" commented the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Brian Smith. "It reflects what has been achieved by the work and dedication of all members of staff and I am delighted that their success has been further recognised in this manner."
The day was just beginning to brighten as University President Neil Kinnock, Chair of Council Sir Peter Phillips and Vice-Chancellor Sir Brian Smith awaited the arrival of the Royal Party. As the limousine swept up the horseshoe drive in front of Main Building, the gathering of staff and parents and children from the University crèche waved miniature Welsh flags and broke into applause. This was continued as the Vice-Chancellor led Her Majesty and The Duke into the John Viriamu Jones Gallery for a range of presentations on aspects of University research and collaboration with industry.
For more than an hour the breadth, value and vibrancy of the University's external links were amply demonstrated in a series of presentations both in the JVJ Gallery and the Council Chamber. The relevance of University research was reinforced by the involvement of a large number of the University's commercial collaborators and their strong endorsement of the benefits of working with a major research-led university. The collaborators ranged from small and medium sized local companies to national and multi-national corporations. The local companies included nine representatives from the University's highly acclaimed Innovation Network, which makes University expertise and facilities available to hundreds of local companies. National and multi-national corporations represented included Glaxo Wellcome and Ford. Whatever the size of the company the message was consistent: the University is a highly valued and productive partner.
Work not immediately directed at commercial development was not forgotten, and the University's wider value to society was highlighted at several points during the day. The Duke, accompanied by University President Neil Kinnock, travelled to the Queen's Buildings, opened by Her Majesty in 1993. Here, presentations included one given to The Duke of Edinburgh by Professor Walter Gear on behalf of the University's outstandingly successful astrophysicists.
Meanwhile, in Main Building and then in the Redwood Building, The Queen learned about the University's health related work. She was shown research related to Down's Syndrome and low vision and the work to combat cancer and other diseases. The opening of the University's new Tenovus cancer research laboratories was a highlight of this stage of The Queen's tour.
As mid-day approached Her Majesty was brought to the Glamorgan Building, where the Royal Standard flew high and proud in bright summer sunshine. The Queen heard Professor Huw Beynon outline the challenges and scope of the work of the new School of Social Sciences, before she graciously opened the School. She then held a series of private audiences, including with First Secretary Rhodri Morgan AM.
Shortly afterwards The Duke returned from the Queen's Buildings, where he was shown a wide range of work which has earned the School of Engineering its status as one of the top centres of engineering in Britain. He enjoyed a refreshing glass of local beer whilst he and The Queen met University guests at an informal drinks reception. Among those present were: staff of almost all categories from throughout the University; students from Wales, the rest of Britain and from overseas; members of Council, politicians, business people and alumni of the University. Guests then moved to lunch in the Glamorgan dining rooms.
In total, the visit included some 35 separate presentations, the unveiling of two plaques, several portrait signings, the official opening of the new School of Social Sciences, and a reception and lunch for 120 guests.
Even after lunch the University's royal visit was far from over, with The Queen and The Duke then separately visiting two external collaborators to learn more about the value of Cardiff University to the community and industry. The benefits the University brings to industry and commerce were again reiterated at Epitaxial Products International (EPI), part of the IQE Group.
In the meantime, The Queen's visit to Fitzalan High School brought a ringing royal endorsement of the work of the University, in partnership with the College of Medicine, UWIC and College of Music and Drama, in reducing social exclusion and working to further widen access to higher education.
The Visit at a glance - more pictures and captions
- The Duke of Edinburgh with the University President Neil Kinnock and Professor Martyn Evans FRS
- The Queen at the School of Architecture
- Thanking the catering staff for preparing lunch at the University
- The Queen with the Vice-Chancellor
- Enjoying a joke with WDA representatives and the Vice-Chancellor
- A visit to Fitzalan School
- At the Mobile Exhibitions Unit