KESS 2 for Academics

What is KESS 2?

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a major pan-Wales operation supported by European Social Funds (ESF) through the Welsh Government involving all universities in Wales, led by Bangor University. KESS 2 links companies and organisations with academic expertise in the Higher Education sector in Wales to undertake collaborative research projects.

All research is important, but today more than ever it’s crucial that businesses and universities work together so that ambitious young academics can do work that makes a difference in the real world.

KESS 2 projects are unique in that they are tailored to provide exciting and innovative research whilst meeting the needs of an active business or its sector. The research undertaken through a KESS 2 project must fit with one of the Welsh Assembly Government’s four Grand Challenge Areas which are:

  • Life Sciences & Health
  • Advanced Engineering & Materials
  • Low Carbon, Energy & Environment
  • ICT & the Digital Economy

KESS 2 Facts & Stats: Click here to read more

Frequently Asked Questions


If you have a research project in mind or for further information about KESS 2’s scholarship programme, please get in touch.


The View from Academia

Yr Athro/Prof Rose Cooper

“As an academic, it’s important to be able to work with companies.  Sometimes the research we do, we hope will be developed by other companies, but we can never be sure.  When we work directly with a company, we know that our input is going to be useful and that they are going to develop a product.  And of course, KESS provides that.”

Professor Rose Cooper
Cardiff Metropolitan University




Yr Athro/Prof Davey Jones

“I think it mainly gives us an opportunity to do something that we wouldn’t normally do.  Normally we’re quite silo mentality, you know, we sort of drill down into final details of academic life and the research.  And sometimes we forget what’s out there in the real world and how it might benefit and I think what it’s given us is the opportunity to collaborate with industry, which we don’t normally do.”

Professor Davey Jones
Bangor University



Dr Liam Kilduff

“Again it’s about making sure your research has impact, so therefore your questions have to be driven by industry and because of these sort of partnerships and the way they’re set up, you’ve continuous meetings with the industry, your student is embedded in the industry and therefore all the time you’re making sure that your research is impacting and it’s answering key questions for these guys.”

Dr Liam Kilduff
Swansea University




Dr Vincent Barrioz“Being involved with the KESS project has allowed us to work closer with the company and also to work with a student, really motivated students, giving them the skills necessary for moving into employment, and at the same time giving us the opportunity to give them some of the knowledge and patent required for moving forward in the research.”

Dr Vincent Barrioz
Glyndwr University




Dr Arwel Jones

“There’s also chance for us now as supervisors I guess to prepare and train other students for a career in research or perhaps commercial business if this is what they want to do.”

Dr Arwel Jones
Aberystwyth University





Dr Mathew Smalley“And it actually enabled me to enhance collaborations I got with the pharmaceutical company out with the KESS project, so that’s been a great factor.  For my student, it’s been fantastic because it’s given him great academic skills as an experience of being in an SME.”

Dr Matthew Smalley
Cardiff University




Dr Zhidao Xia

“For the University we normally just do some basic research. Some chemists, they are not clinically relevant.  However, working with SMEs, with small industries they brought in very interesting research projects, which have commercial value and also can be used for the future.  Therefore the working with SMEs is important.”

Dr Zhidao Xia
Swansea University