USW academics among seven new National Assembly research fellows

Dr Filippos Proedrou is among seven new research fellows who are joining the National Assembly

Dr Filippos Proedrou is among seven new research fellows who are joining the National Assembly

Two University of South Wales (USW) academics are among seven new research fellows who are joining the National Assembly as part of a programme of shared knowledge between higher education institutions and the Welsh parliament.

It’s the first time a fellow from USW has been included on the list.

Dr Roiyah Saltus and Dr Filippos Proedrou have joined the other fellows who have been selected for the Assembly’s Academic Fellowship Scheme through a competitive application process. 

This builds on a successful pilot scheme with six academic fellows that operated in 2017 and 2018. These fellows produced material on a wide range of policy areas that fed directly into the work of the Assembly and its committees, including dementia policy, Bovine TB, and the implications of Brexit for Environmental Law.

The new programme is designed to increase the Assembly’s knowledge and understanding in key policy areas, with academics sharing their expertise and carrying out new research to enable Assembly Members to develop policy and practice for the benefit of the people of Wales.

Dr Roiyah SaltusDr Saltus (left) will focus on what interventions to address loneliness could work for older migrant and minority ethnic people in Wales, while Dr Proedrou is addressing the climate policy gap in Wales by exploring new evidence, best practices and novel policies in support of the implementation of strict carbon budgets.

Fellowship placements are part-time for up to six months at a time, with academics working alongside the National Assembly’s expert Research Service which support Assembly Members and committees at the Senedd.

“Loneliness-reducing and health-improving interventions that attend to the societal context in which older people live has long been advocated by older people’s organisations, and was the subject of an Assembly Committee Inquiry (2017) and, more recently, a Consultation on tackling loneliness and social isolation in Wales," Dr Saltus said.

“We need to examine how loneliness is understood and operationalised, what interventions to address loneliness could work for Wales’s migrant and minority ethnic older people, and what cross-fertilisation of underlying approaches, processes and conditions also effectively address loneliness for other population groups.

“The evidence gathered is part of, and will contribute to, the National Assembly’s wider focus on wellbeing, improved public health, and community cohesion – with a more specific (but not exclusive) need to add value to both the development of the Welsh Government’s loneliness strategy and its subsequent rolling-out.

“I am delighted to be selected as one of the Academic Fellows on this new Scheme that will foster a two-way knowledge exchange aimed at adding  to the research evidence base that informs the work of Assembly Members and that helps address their Committee commitments.”

Dr Proedrou said: “The time is crucial for long overdue climate action to retain our planet as a hospitable place. The Wales Future Generations Act makes it imperative that action is taken now for the future, and least represented, generations. 

“The Welsh Government is about to release its Decarbonisation Plan, has designed its first two carbon budgets up to 2025, and will soon have to design carbon budgets for 2026 and beyond.  

“My role is to assist the National Assembly for Wales, and in particular the Committee for  Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs, in its scrutiny role vis-à-vis the Welsh Government. 

“In doing so, what is at stake is the increase of climate ambitions and targets in line with climate science, and the design of proportionate carbon budgets. 

“My aim is to imbue policy-makers with a more profound understanding of the climate change problem, with powerful arguments, and with evidence and best practices from around the world that can assist them to live up to this unprecedented challenge.“  

Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, said: “I welcome the seven new fellowships with universities from across Wales that will give us access to academic expertise on a wide range of important policy areas. 

“This follows on from our successful pilot fellowship scheme and is part of our ongoing programme of encouraging engagement with academics. 

“It benefits the Assembly by levering in external expertise to supplement the knowledge of Members and Assembly Commission staff. 

“It also fits well with the Assembly Commission’s strategic goals of providing outstanding parliamentary support and engaging with all the people of Wales.”

Chief Executive and Clerk to the National Assembly, Manon Antoniazzi, said: “The National Assembly Commission prides itself on delivering a world class standard of service to Assembly Members including rigorous and detailed research.

“Harnessing the knowledge of respected academics is critical to understanding complex issues in Wales and developing ways to approach them.

“For their part the research they produce can inform Assembly debates, improving the scrutiny of public policy in Wales which can also result in better outcomes for the constituents they represent.”