Three new research fellows from Bangor University are joining the National Assembly as part of a programme of shared knowledge between higher education institutions and the Welsh government.

The academics from the Schools of Law and Health Sciences and Natural Sciences will be sharing their expertise on vital issues that will help Assembly Members to develop policy and practice for the benefit of the people of Wales. This follows on from Bangor University’s participation in the successful pilot scheme.

The new fellows have been selected for the prestigious Academic Fellowship Scheme through a competitive application process.

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 Sarah Nason of the School of Law will be examining the current and future role of the Assembly in relation to aspects of the justice system that have been devolved to Wales, in particular the administrative justice system which includes tribunals, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, and the Welsh Commissioners. Sarah will also be examining the relationship between Welsh public administrative law, human rights and equality.

Dr David Dallimore of the School of Health Sciences will be undertaking research to explore options for a simple and coherent system that would enable all pre-school children in Wales to access high quality, integrated early education and childcare.

Commenting on his role Dr Alec Dauncey of School of Natural Sciences explained: “Wales has a varied landscape with conifer forests as well as ancient oak woodlands, which some people call ‘Celtic rainforests’. As trees grow they take carbon out of the air and turn it into the wood we can use. Trees and woodlands can act a bit like sponges in the landscape, holding water in their leaves and forest soils. I’ll be putting together all the latest ideas and facts about how different kinds of woodland can help to collect carbon from the atmosphere, and slow water down so that floods are reduced. I’ll be looking at how we manage and fell the woodlands that we already have, and at how planted and naturally regenerating trees can best fit into the farmed working landscape of Wales.”

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.

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.

“The hope is that by drawing on this external expertise we will be able to enhance the knowledge of Members and Assembly Commission staff.

“This is an important development that will further the 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: “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 will inform Assembly debates, improving the scrutiny of public policy and resulting in better outcomes for the people of Wales.”