The Inspire Wales Awards are an initiative of the Institute of Welsh Affairs in association with the Western Mail.
To celebrate the achievements of the men and women throughout Wales who make a significant contribution to society, the Institute of Welsh Affairs has teamed up with the Western Mail for the Inspire Wales Awards. The awards reward those in the fields of business, education, science, arts and media, the environment and sport, as well as seeking champions in citizenship and young achievers. Entries are encouraged from the public, private and voluntary sectors. In this profile, we reveal the finalists in the Science and Technology category.
Professor Meena Upadhyaya
In her role as professor of medical genetics at Cardiff University, Professor Upadhyaya is actively involved in carrying out medical research. The main aim of this is to improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from various life-threatening genetic conditions. Her position as the head of the NHS research and development laboratory at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, allows her to achieve these aims through developing new technologies which significantly enhance the identification of genetic abnormalities associated with different inherited disorders. As well as her research, she helps organise and chair national and international scientific and medical meetings on these inherited diseases. Prof Upadhyaya’s career development is all the more impressive considering she chose to stay in Wales, far away from her family in India, to finish her PhD despite the death of her husband. It was a decision made more difficult because she had to bring up their daughter single-handedly.
Liane Davies Sheppard
As operations director of Capita Glamorgan/Capita Symonds, Professor Sheppard is responsible for the operational, financial and commercial aspects of Glamorgan Business. She heads a team of approximately 85 people for the company which has a turnover of more than £5m. Her 17 years of experience in civil engineering has seen her develop what was once a small local business into one which is thriving. As a woman in engineering, Prof Sheppard has come across a great deal of discrimination but she is determined to change people’s perceptions – especially as she wants to encourage youngsters into the trade. And having been promoted to director at the tender age of 33, she believes she has gone some way to prove that development in engineering is possible regardless of age or gender.
Professor Anthony John Griffiths
A research professor at Cardiff University, Professor Griffiths carries out research in climate change engineering and development with the aim of improving competitiveness. His role sees him provide training to businesses and allows them access to cutting-edge engineering research as well as laboratories with high class diagnostic equipment. Another of his roles, and one which he sees as a bonus, is developing the skills of students through undergraduate/ postgraduate taught courses and projects and through the use of research programmes for PhD students. During his 30 years in the industry, Prof Griffiths has seen significant change to how it operates with many more people now accepting the need for energy reduction and efficiency. This shift in opinion is something which Prof Griffiths claims has stimulated his interest further.
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