University of South Wales joins forces with Brecon Beacons National Park

USW and Brecon Beacons partnership

The University of South Wales has signed a partnership with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to carry out research at one of the UK’s top areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The partnership aims to establish student internships and work placements at the Park, as well as develop and run research projects in conservation, ecology, economic development, communities and heritage. It is also working to develop a tailor-made Masters level course designed specifically to provide students with the practical skills they need for a career in the protected areas sector.

The team behind the partnership, which includes representatives from the University’s Business School, School of Applied Sciences and the development and sustainability teams at the National Park, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the objectives of the alliance.

Dr Paul Davies, Senior Lecturer in Strategy at the University, has also run consultancy workshops at the National Park, looking at its business strategy. This has had a direct influence on the way the senior management team is running the organisation, having changed their practices and areas of work based on Paul’s advice and input.

Dr Emma Hayhurst, Course Leader in Biology at the University of South Wales, said: “This partnership has already given us some fantastic opportunities for collaboration, particularly in Biology, Geography and Geology, where students are able to take on real-life research projects at the Park, and therefore help with its vital conservation management work.

"We look forward to building on this positive start by creating volunteer opportunities for students to supplement their academic studies, which in turn will enhance their employability skills and allow us to address skills gaps across a number of sectors.”

Dr Paul Sinnadurai, Conservation Manager at the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, said: “We recognise the importance of strategic research partnerships, and the applied research they attract, providing evidence to help us improve what we do and how we do it.

"We have enjoyed developing this partnership agreement and are excited by the opportunities it provides. It means we’re able to take steady steps towards building a cross-sector, multi-stakeholder research platform which supports Wales’s protected landscapes and the country’s well-being.”

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