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'Star scientists' £50m package to boost Welsh economy

A £50m package has being unveiled to attract ‘star scientists’ to Wales.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the fund would be used to encourage leading professors to move to Wales to work and boost research and the economy.

It will pay for specialist equipment, top-up salaries to the level outstanding academics would expect and will fund members of their teams.

The Welsh government said it had set a target for Wales to win 5 per cent of competitive research funding in the UK.

Last year its chief scientific adviser, Professor John Harries, said he was concerned about Wales’ performance in attracting research income.

He said universities should be more “streetwise” when bidding for a share of UK government funding and target “star” research teams.

Mr Jones said the Welsh government had now created the Ser Cymru (Stars Wales) scheme to address the issue.

Speaking at the start of National Science and Engineering Week he said Welsh universities should use the fund to become more ambitious and more collaborative in their approach to funding bids.

“Wales has some great scientific strengths but as our chief scientific adviser has said himself, we could do so much better,” Mr Jones said.

“Our universities have the opportunity here to work with the best research groups across the world and strive for excellence.”