KESS 2 Annual Event 2023

On Thursday, September 28th 2023, the KESS 2 Annual Event was held at the VOCO St. David’s Hotel & Spa in Cardiff Bay. Two key events were held, one during daytime and another in the evening.

Daytime Event

The daytime exhibition was attended by the Minister for the Economy of Wales, Vaughan Gething MS, and provided an excellent platform to showcase the innovative KESS 2 research projects that were funded by ESF and presented by postgraduate researchers, company partners, and academics. The event provided a unique opportunity for attendees to learn and network about the latest advancements in collaborative, innovative research across Wales. Attendees were given the chance to communicate their research first-hand to the Minister, sharing insights into the research process and the benefits and impact of the funding.

Speaking at the daytime event, the Minister said,

“The [KESS 2] programme has been a success on a variety of fronts. It’s helped universities, postgraduate students and businesses to work together, to achieve a range of mutual goals and benefits. The impact of that research also helps to support innovation and growth in hundreds of small businesses across Wales. That underpins the choices we’re now trying to make in taking forward our own innovation strategy in Wales.

Crucially it has also helped people, in the partnerships that have been created, to partner young people and businesses across Wales, and that has helped to retain real talent within the Welsh economy. So, a genuine thank you to all the universities who have participated in helping to make this happen.”

Evening Event

In the evening, the KESS 2 awards ceremony took place, featuring three competitions: the Researcher’s Research presentations, the Sustainability Award with sub-category awards for Company Partners and a Postgraduate Researchers, and the Research Images Award.

During the evening’s gala dinner, there were ten live presentations in total, which were judged interactively by the audience, based on : concise and appropriate content; clear and measurable objectives; logical explanations of methodology; demonstrable impact of the research. Following this the KESS 2 awards ceremony took place, featuring three competitions: the Researcher’s Research presentations, the Sustainability Award with sub-category awards for Company Partners and a Postgraduate Researcher, and the Research Images Award.

Prof. Ian Walsh – Opening Speech

Prof. Graham Ormondroyd – Opening Speech

The overall winner for the Researcher’s Research category was Lauren Jones from Cardiff Metropolitan University, working in collaboration with Kidney Wales. Dr. Shannan Southwood-Samuel from the University of South Wales, in partnership with Tata Steel, was awarded as a finalist; along with Dr. Nisha Rawindaran from Cardiff Metropolitan University, working in partnership with Aytel Systems Ltd. Tasmia Tahsin from Swansea University, who researches in collaboration with North Wales Clinical Research Centre, was highly commended for her overall presentation. The awards were presented by Dr. Matt Briggs from UWTSD.

Award winners (top to bottom): Lauren Jones with Dr Matt Briggs. Jenny Woods with Dr Morwenna Spear. Faisal Farooq with Mererid Gordon.

In the Sustainability Award category, Jenny Woods from Bangor University, in collaboration with Wipak UK, won the Postgraduate Researcher Sustainability Award. The finalists were Dr. Nisha Rawindaran (Cardiff Metropolitan University – partner as above) and Genevieve Hopkins (Bangor University) working in partnership with Community Wellness Company (CWC). Daniele Robustino from Aberystwyth University also received an acknowledgment for his entry.

The Company Partner Sustainability Award was won by Dr Minshad Ansari from Bionema Group Ltd. ; Prof. Judy Hutchings (Children’s Early Intervention Trust) and Gareth Lloyd (Tata Steel) were both awarded as finalists. The Sustainability Awards were judged by our KESS 2 Sustainability Experts prior to the event and presented on the night by Dr. Morwenna Spear (Biocomposites Centre, Bangor University).

The event also saw the return of the Research Images competition, this year following the theme ‘This is KESS’. Faisal Farooq from Cardiff University was awarded as winner in this category. Finalists were : Carlo Kupfernagel (Bangor University working with Lignia Wood Company Ltd) ; Adam D N Williams (Cardiff University working with Public Health Wales) and Tasmia Tahsin (Swansea University working in with North Wales Clinical Research Centre). The image competition was judged by an external panel prior to the event, and presented on the night by Mererid Gordon (KESS 2 Marketing, Design & Publicity Officer).

You can find all the shortlisted entries in the brochure below:


Both events were a highly successful showcase of some of the innovative ESF funded collaborative research projects happening in Wales as part of the Welsh Government supported programme.

Click the links below to view the event photos and videos: