The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Method (WISERD) has appointed a new Director, based at Cardiff University.
Professor Gareth Rees will lead the Institute which aims to strengthen social science research capacity across Wales through cooperation, joint projects and associated links with centres of excellence across the UK and internationally.
WISERD is a new initiative that brings together researchers from Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Glamorgan and Swansea universities; and it is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of Wales (HEFCW) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Professor Rees said: "I look forward to building on the success of WISERD. Our researchers have internationally recognised expertise in methods of recording and analysing economic and social changes and the experiences of everyday life. They have been centrally involved in developing new ways of mapping Wales and the lives of its people. They will play a vital role in the coming years, informing policy makers and practitioners as Wales enters a further period of change and uncertainty."
Professor Rees is well-known for his research on education and regional economic development, especially in relation to participation in lifelong learning. He has also researched extensively on the relationships between devolved forms of governance and the development and implementation of education and training policy. Much of his research has been based in Wales and he has contributed significantly to improving understanding of contemporary Welsh economy and society.
Professor Rees is particularly concerned to apply research findings to the development of policy and he has acted as a consultant and advisor to numerous national and international policy bodies and government departments, including the OECD, the European Commission, the Welsh Assembly Government and Education and Learning Wales (ELWa). Most recently, he was the research advisor to the Webb Review of further education in Wales.
He replaces Professor Huw Beynon, who retired in August having established WISERD in 2008 as a major centre for social science research excellence.