National Assembly for Wales pilots Academic Fellowships with Bangor University

Dr Alex Plows and Dr Catrin Jones in conversation.Dr Alex Plows and Dr Catrin Jones in conversation.Two Bangor University academics are to share their expertise to enable Assembly Members to develop policy and practice for the benefit of the people of Wales.

Dr Alexandra Plows of Bangor University’s School of Social Sciences and Dr Catrin Hedd Jones of the School of Healthcare Sciences will spend time working on specific projects alongside the Assembly’s Research Service under new Academic Fellowships being piloted by the National Assembly for Wales.

Elin Jones AM, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales said:

“I welcome the new fellowships with Bangor University that are giving us access to academic expertise in two key policy areas.  Increasing our engagement with academics will benefit the Assembly by levering in external expertise to supplement the knowledge of Members and Assembly Commission staff.  It fits well with the Assembly Commission’s strategic goals of providing outstanding parliamentary support and engaging with all the people of Wales.”

These projects represents the first stage of a prestigious Academic Fellowship Scheme launched by the National Assembly for Wales. The Fellowships Dr Plows and Dr Jones will undertake are funded by Bangor University’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA).

Both academics will work on specific projects which will help Assembly Members develop policy and practice for the benefit of the people of Wales.

Dr Alexandra Plows will deliver a scoping study to address the economy of north Wales. The result of the work with the National Assembly’s Research Service will be an evidence base for Assembly Members to contribute to the scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s approach to developing the North Wales economy.

Dr Plows explains: “I will be working with the team to explore the opportunities and threats for jobs and growth presented both within north Wales and in relation to developments under way in the north of England; and the interventions required to exploit these opportunities to the fullest. We will look ideas for alternative, complementary economic approaches with the aim of improving the north Wales economy.”

You can follow Dr Plows’ project activities on Twitter: @labourmarkets

Dementia care specialist Dr Catrin Hedd Jones will work closely with the Research Service and people living with dementia to provide an evidence base to enable Assembly Members to analyse the Welsh Government’s policies and programmes, and services for people living with dementia and their carers, looking specifically at the impact of dementia on health inequalities.

She explains: “I’m particularly interested in identifying examples of best practice in dementia care across Wales and internationally.  There is evidence that dementia diagnoses come later for people that have Welsh as a first language and it is an area I would like to explore further

It’s vital that we  investigate and develop the workforce, looking at the role of dementia care/support workers and primary care workers – including the work of unpaid carers and the support they receive.”

See Dr Jones’ Twitter profile for more information: @CatrinHedd

Following completion of these and other pilot Fellowships, the Assembly will be evaluating the outcomes and will then consider launching the Academic Fellowship Scheme across Wales. Please visit the Assembly’s website for updates about this scheme.

For further information about Bangor University’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, please see or

Publication date: 29 March 2017