Clinton visit a chance to showcase exciting local research

MA Sports Communications student Amy Cule explains that there is some really exciting and relevant research going on in Swansea…

During the Clinton visit on the 7th November, I was given the opportunity to be one of two correspondents for the event in the Bay Library. This event was an opportunity for both Hilary and Bill Clinton to learn more about a number of key university projects in each faculty. There were 6 projects on display in the library and I took correspondent lead for 3 of these projects (Biophilic infrastructure, Health Data Science: Mental Health in Children and Young People, and Swansea Bay 5G Innovation Testbed).

Amy and Ayushi were our Bay correspondents

My role was to take notes on both questions asked by the Clintons and their reactions to the projects as well as making notes on the projects themselves and what the projects were all about. Before the Clintons arrived, we were briefly introduced to some of the project leads by Dr Chris Marshall, coordinator of the events throughout the day. The Clintons arrived early to the event and showed great interest in the Cyber Threats Research Centre project as well as the trust in user-generated evidence project.

Dr Chris Marshall

Secretary and President Clinton moved onto the biophilic infrastructure project, which was probably the project I found most interesting throughout the morning. Biophilic Living is about enabling humans to reconnect with nature and creating a cohesive community to address the increasing issues relating to social exclusion and loneliness, as well as responding to the climate emergency with innovative technology and putting nature at the heart of the city. 

President Clinton was probably most interested in this project, given that it his lifelong passions lie within investing in clean energy and making the federal government a cleaner, more efficient energy consumer. I also had the opportunity after the visit to speak with the leads of the project, Professor Geoff Proffitt and Carwyn Davies who are both extremely passionate about their scheme and hope to invest further within the city. I hope also to take a tour of the building in the new year to see first-hand how this project has developed.

Notepads at the ready !

Something that stood out during the presentation by the Swansea Bay 5G Innovation Testbed project was their partnership with Vodafone. The key focus for this partnership will be to unlock a range of opportunities for automated large-scale data gathering, including the uploading of real-time environmental and wearable tech data for integration with other datasets, novel device development for the clinical monitoring of patients, and the development of new sensors and devices.

One of the devices mentioned by Vodafone were concussion detectors in gumshields. As a rugby player myself, and someone who wears these devices on a weekly basis I was excited to speak with Vodafone after their discussion with the Clintons. As the gumshields are a work in process, they also had a lot of questions for me regarding their wearability, comfort and effectiveness. At the end of their discussion with the Clintons, Vodafone (principal sponsors for the WRU) presented them with Welsh match day shirts for their grandchildren.

Amy knows a thing or two about gumshields !

This was an experience I will never forget and it was a great honour and privilege to even be in a room so close to two extraordinary world leaders.