Home / News / Academics / Phenomenal success of research activity in Wales


A recent comprehensive analysis of Wales’s research activity and relative research impact makes for heartening reading for the Higher Education sector. Using a range of input and output research indices, the study found
that in terms of productivity and efficiency, Wales performs above the UK average and for its size is one of the most efficient countries in the world. Commissioned by the Welsh Government, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Welsh universities the ‘International Comparative Performance of the Welsh Research Base 2013′, was carried out

‘International Comparative Performance of the Welsh Research Base 2013’, carried out by Elsevier,

‘International Comparative Performance of the Welsh Research Base 2013’, carried out by Elsevier,

by Elsevier to demonstrate the benefits and return of public investment in university research.

The report correlates with a recent review of the work of C3W researchers, who have authored more than 550 international level ISI publications, with increases year-on-year (2010-11, 154; 2011-12, 180; 2012-13, 220) including 15 high-profile publications in Nature and Science journals (and with currently at least two more in press).

The Elsevier report found that although Wales publishes a relatively small volume of publications, it has increased its field-weighted citation impact – which is 61% above the world average – and is extremely efficient in translating its relative low levels of research income into high impact research. Again this is borne out by C3W’s recent contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report: The Physical Science Basis published in September 2013.  C3W associated staff contributed one Lead Author, two Contributing Authors and over 40 cited research contributions1.

Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Julie Williams said:

“Researchers in Wales deserve a big pat on the back, and just think what could be done with greater numbers of scientists. It is my ambition to grow the research base in Wales, increasing the number of researchers and producing an environment that helps our talent succeed. Wales is clearly performing strongly and getting good value for money from its research base. There is much talent here already but the report also highlights the need to strengthen in areas such as Engineering, Medicine and the Natural Sciences. I want to see us strengthen our capacity in those areas and this report will be valuable in providing a baseline to measure our progress against.”

The financial return in the work of C3W is seen in the more than £12 million in external funding that has been secured by its researchers since its inception, and demonstrates a three-fold return on funding.

1. Listing of all 46 C3W research contributions cited in the 2013 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: The Physical Science Basis

C3W Lead Author

Chapter 4: Tavi Murray

Contributing Authors

Chapter 5: Paul Pearson

Chapter 13: Tavi Murray

Chapter 3 (11 papers)

Carrivick, J. L., B. J. Davies, N. F. Glasser, D. Nyvlt, and M. J. Hambrey, 2012: Late-Holocene changes in character and behaviour of land-terminating glaciers on James Ross Island, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology 58, 1176-1190.

Davies, B. J., and N. F. Glasser, 2012: Accelerating shrinkage of Patagonian glaciers from the “Little Ice Age” (c. AD1870) to 2011. Journal of Glaciology 58, 1063-1084.

Gusmeroli, A., P. Jansson, R. Pettersson, and T. Murray, 2012: Twenty years of cold surface layer thinning at Storglaciären, sub-Arctic Sweden, 1989–2009. Journal of Glaciology 58, 3–10.

Luckman, A., and T. Murray, 2005: Seasonal variation in velocity before retreat of Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters 32, L08501.

Murray, T., T. Strozzi, A. Luckman, H. Jiskoot, and P. Christakos, 2003: Is there a single surge mechanism? Contrasts in dynamics between glacier surges in Svalbard and other regions. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth 108, 2237.

Murray, T., Scharrer, K., James, T.D., Dye, S.R., Hanna, E., Booth, A.D., Selmes, N., Luckman, A., Hughes, A.L.C., Cook, S. and Huybrechts, P. 2010: Ocean regulation hypothesis for glacier dynamics in southeast Greenland and implications for ice sheet mass changes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 115 , F03026.

O’Leary, M., and P. Christoffersen, 2013: Calving on tidewater glaciers amplified by submarine frontal melting. Cryosphere 7, 119–128.

Quincey, D. J., M. Braun, N. F. Glasser, M. P. Bishop, K. Hewitt, and A. Luckman, 2011: Karakoram glacier surge dynamics. Geophysical Research Letters 38, L18504.

Selmes, N., T. Murray, and T. D. James, 2011: Fast draining lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Geophysical Research Letters 38, L15501.

Shepherd, A., A. Hubbard, P. Nienow, M. King, M. McMillan, and I. Joughin, 2009: Greenland ice sheet motion coupled with daily melting in late summer. Geophysical Research Letters 36, L01501.

Shepherd, A. et al. (includes A . Luckman), 2012: A reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance. Science 338, 1183–1189.

Chapter 5 (28 papers)

Barker, S., G. Knorr, M. J. Vautravers, P. Diz, and L. C. Skinner, 2010: Extreme deepening of the Atlantic overturning circulation during deglaciation. Nature Geoscience 3, 567-571.

Barker, S., P. Diz, M. J. Vautravers, J. Pike, G. Knorr, I. R. Hall, and W. S. Broecker, 2009: Interhemispheric Atlantic seesaw response during the last deglaciation. Nature 457, 1097-1102.

Barker, S., Knorr, G., Edwards, R.L., Parrenin, F., Putnam, A.E., Skinner, L.C., Wolff, E. and Ziegler, M: 800,000 Years of Abrupt Climate Variability. Science 334, 347-351.

Bentley, M. J., C. J. Fogwill, A. M. Le Brocq, A. L. Hubbard, D. E. Sugden, T. J. Dunai, and S. P. H. T. Freeman, 2010: Deglacial history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Weddell Sea embayment: Constraints on past ice volume change. Geology 38, 411-414.

Cunningham, L.K., Austin, W.E.N., Knudsen, K.L., Eiríksson, J., Scourse, J.D., Wanamaker, A.D., Jr, Butler, P., Cage, A., Richter, T., Husum, K., Hald, M., Andersson, C., Zorita, E., Linderholm, H., Gunnarson, B.E., Sicre, M.A., Sejrup, H.P., Jiang, H. & Wilson, R.J.S. 2013. Reconstructions of surface ocean conditions from the North East Atlantic and Nordic Seas during the last millennium. The Holocene 23, 921-935.

Daley, T. J., E.R. Thomas, J.A. Holmes, F.A. Street-Perrott, M.R., Chapman, J.C., Tindall, P.J., Valdes, N.J., Loader, J.D., Marshall, E.W., Wolff, P.J., Hopley, T., Atkinson, K.E. Barber, E.H. Fisher, I. Robertson, P.D.M. Hughes and C.N. Roberts, 2011: The 8200 yr BP cold event in stable isotope records from the North Atlantic region. Global and Planetary Change 79, 288–302.

Elderfield, H., Greaves, M., Barker, S., Hall, I.R., Tripati, A., Ferretti, P., Crowhurst, S., Booth, L. and Daunt, C. 2010: A record of bottom water temperature and seawater δ18O for the Southern Ocean over the past 440 kyr based on Mg/Ca of benthic foraminiferal Uvigerina spp. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 160-169.

Ellison, C. R. W., M. R. Chapman, and I. R. Hall, 2006: Surface and deep ocean interactions during the cold climate event 8200 years ago. Science 312, 1929-1932.

Foster, G. L., C. H. Lear, and J. W. B. Rae, 2012: The evolution of pCO2, ice volume and climate during the middle Miocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 341, 243-254.

Gagen, M., Zorita, E., McCarroll, D., Young, G.H.F., Grudd, H., Jalkanen, R., Loader, N., Robertson, I and Kirchhefer, A., 2011. Cloud response to summer temperatures in Fennoscandia over the last thousand years. Geophysical Research Letters 38, L05701.

Hall, I. R., S. B. Moran, R. Zahn, P. C. Knutz, C. C. Shen, and R. L. Edwards, 2006: Accelerated drawdown of meridional overturning in the late-glacial Atlantic triggered by transient pre-H event freshwater perturbation. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L16616.

Hughes, A. L. C., E. Rainsley, T. Murray, C. J. Fogwill, C. Schnabel, and S. Xu, 2012: Rapid response of Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland, to early Holocene climate warming. Geology 40, 427-430.

Chapter 5 continued…

Kleiven, H. F., I. R. Hall, I. N. McCave, G. Knorr, and E. Jansen, 2011: Coupled deep-water flow and climate variability in the middle Pleistocene North Atlantic. Geology 39, 343-346.

Köhler, P., G. Knorr, D. Buiron, A. Lourantou, and J. Chappellaz, 2011: Abrupt rise in atmospheric CO2 at the onset of the Bølling/Allerød: in-situ ice core data versus true atmospheric signals. Climate of the Past 7, 473-486.

Lynch-Stieglitz, J., Adkins, J.F., Curry, W.B., Dokken, T., Hall, I.R., Herguera, J.C., Hirschi, J.J.M., Ivanova, E.V., Kissel, C., Marchal, O., Marchitto, T., McCave, I.N., McManus, J.F., Mulitza, S., Ninnemann, U., Peeters, F., Yu, E.F. and Zahn, R. 2007: Atlantic meridional overturning circulation during the Last Glacial Maximum. Science 316, 66-69.

Macklin, M. G., J. Lewin, and J. C. Woodward, 2012: The fluvial record of climate change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series A 370, 2143-2172.

McCarroll, D., Loader, N.J., Jalkanen, R., Gagen, M.H., Grudd, H., Gunnarson, B.E., Kirchhefer, A.J., Friedrich, M., Linderholm, H.W., Lindholm, M., Boettger, M., Los, S.O., Remmele, S., Kononov, Y.M., Yamazaki, Y.U., Young, G.H.F. and Zorita, E. 2013: A 1200-year multiproxy record of tree growth and summer temperature at the northern pine forest limit of Europe. The Holocene 23, 471-484.

Matthews, J. A. and P. Q. Dresser, 2008: Holocene glacier variation chronology of the Smørstabbtindan massif, Jotunheimen, southern Norway, and the recognition of century- to millennial scale European Neoglacial Events. The Holocene 18, 181–201.

NEEM community members (including S.M. Davies), 2013: Eemian interglacial reconstructed from Greenland folded ice core. Nature 493, 489-494.

PAGES 2k Consortium (including D. McCarroll), 2013: Continental-scale temperature variability during the last two millennia. Nature Geoscience 6, 339–346.

Pearson, P. N., G. L. Foster, and B. S. Wade, 2009: Atmospheric carbon dioxide through the Eocene-Oligocene climate transition. Nature 461, 1110-1113.

Rohling, E. J., M. Medina-Elizalde, J. G. Shepherd, M. Siddall, and J. D. Stanford, 2012:

Sea surface and high-latitude temperature sensitivity to radiative forcing of climate over several glacial cycles. Journal of Climatology 25, 1635–1656.

Sosdian, S., and Y. Rosenthal, 2009: Deep-sea temperature and ice volume changes across the Pliocene-Pleistocene climate transitions. Science 325, 306-310.

Stanford, J. D., E. J. Rohling, S. Bacon, A. P. Roberts, F. E. Grousset, and M. Bolshaw,

2011: A new concept for the paleoceanographic evolution of Heinrich event 1 in the North Atlantic. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 1047–1066.

Svensson, A., Andersen, K. K., Bigler, M., Clausen, H. B., Dahl-Jensen, D., Davies, S. M., Johnsen, S. J., Muscheler, R., Parrenin, F., Rasmussen, S. O., Röthlisberger, R., Seierstad,I., Steffensen,J- P., Vinther, B. M. 2008. A 60 000 year Greenland stratigraphic ice-core chronology. Climate of the Past 4, 47-58.

Trachsel, M., C. Kamenik, M. Gosjean, D. McCarroll, A., Moberg, R. ,Brazdil, U., Büntgen, P., Dobrovolny, J. Esper, D.C. Frank, M. Friedrich, R. Glaser, I. Larocque-Tobler, K. Nicolussi and D. Riemann, 2012: Multi-archive summer temperature reconstruction for the European Alps, AD 1053–1996. Quaternary Science Reviews 46, 66–79.

Trouet, V., J. Esper, N. E. Graham, A. Baker, J. D. Scourse, and D. C. Frank, 2009: Persistent positive north Atlantic oscillation mode dominated the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Science 324, 78-80.

Wilson, R., D. Miles, N. Loader, T. Melvin, L. Cunningham, R. Cooper, and K. Briffa, 2013. A millennial long March–July precipitation reconstruction for southern-central England. Climate Dynamics 40, 997-1017.

Chapter 6 (3 papers)

Evans, C. D., D. T. Monteith, and D. M. Cooper, 2005: Long-term increases in surface water dissolved organic carbon: observations, possible causes and environmental impacts. Environmental Pollution 137, 55-71.

Skinner, L. C., S. Fallon, C. Waelbroeck, E. Michel, and S. Barker, 2010: Ventilation of the deep Southern ocean and deglacial CO2 rise. Science 328, 1147-1151.

Woolf, D., J. E. Amonette, F. A. Street-Perrott, J. Lehmann, and S. Joseph, 2010: Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change. Nature Communications 1, 56.

Chapter 7 (2 papers)

Gagen, M., Zorita, E., McCarroll, D., Young, G.H.F., Grudd, H., Jalkanen, R., Loader, N., Robertson, I and Kirchhefer, A., 2011. Cloud response to summer temperatures in Fennoscandia over the last thousand years. Geophysical Research Letters 38, L05701.

Kokhanovsky, A. A., J.L. Deuze, D.J. Diner, O. Dubovik, F. Ducos, C. Emde, M.J. Garay, R.G. Grainger, A. Heckel, M. Herman, I.L. Katsev, J. Keller, R. Levy, P.R.J. North, A.S. Prikhach, V.V. Rozanov, A.M. Sayer, Y. Ota, D. Tanre, G.E. Thomas and E.P. Zege, 2010: The inter-comparison of major satellite aerosol retrieval algorithms using simulated intensity and polarization characteristics of reflected light. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 3, 909–932.

Chapter 13 (1 paper)

F.M. Nick, A. Luckman, C.J. Van der Veen, A. Vieli, D. van As, A. Hubbard, R.W.S. van de Wal and F. Pattyn, 2012: The response of Petermann Glacier, Greenland, to large  calving events, and its future stability in the context of atmospheric and oceanic warming. Journal of  Glaciology 58, 229–239.

Chapter 14 (1 paper)

Metcalfe, S. E., M. D. Jones, S. J. Davies, A. Noren, and A. MacKenzie, 2010: Climate variability over the last two millennia in the North American Monsoon, recorded in laminated lake sediments from Laguna de Juanacatlan. Mexico. The Holocene 20, 1195-1206.