Abstracts - Flash Talks

Landscape Decision System for Sustainable Grassland Management Through Spatial Modelling Tools

Changes to the climate could radically alter upland agriculture. Larger area in Europe have been classified as marginal where cost of arable crop production is high. There is considerable potential to improve agricultural productivity and grasslands can play big role in farming’s net zero carbon goals through sustainable management. For perennial grasses as bioenergy crops there is an urgent need to develop better landscape decision tools keeping in view the biodiversity and food security. Landscape decision system can support land use diversification under current and future climate scenarios. Process-based crop model MiscanFOR run at the field scale to calibrate and evaluate the model and estimate net carbon storage and dry matter yield of key crop species of Wales. The calibrated model was then run at a resolution of 1 km2 for all of Wales using UKCP18 gridded weather and soil data to forecast dry matter yield showing potential suitable areas for each crop. Designated areas and areas under non-agricultural land use were filtered out from the analysis. A system approach was implemented to make land use decision making on regional scale. The system reveals that miscanthus and willow as bioenergy crops are suitable for upland and marginal areas and could play an important role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. Further studies with future scenarios using spatial modelling will help to develop adaptation strategies and recommendations for alternative crops and climate-resilient farming. We have sought to address climate related challenges utilising spatial modelling tools and sustainable grassland management and to support land use decision-making facilitating evidence-based decisions through research collaboration with policymakers, industry and research institute partners, and identifying hotspots for bioenergy development or deployment.

Dr Muhammad Naveed Arshad, Aberystwyth University.

Interrogating Social Prescribing

The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015) aims to address the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales. Social prescribing has emerged as a critical tool through which to achieve this goal.   As an umbrella term, social prescribing provides varied routes into society which promise to support, empower and enable citizens to take control of their own health and wellbeing. To realise long-term benefits gained through developing self-purpose and making connections within communities.
This exploratory research study facilitated a series of four research workshops which sought to interrogate social and green (nature based) prescribing conceptually, to understand the space it holds in Wales and discuss the varied models and initiatives which fall under its umbrella. A variety of third sector organisations, social prescriber link workers, local area coordinators, GPs and academics were represented including volunteers who access green prescribing in Wales. Findings will be shared including a visualisation of volunteer discussions.

An in-depth understanding of components within the field of social and green prescribing is critical to ensure the narrative, initiatives and efforts of many are realised in terms of supporting the Welsh nation achieve its sustainable development principles. Understanding the benefits and challenges for all stakeholders is of value in achieving a prosperous Wales.  Equally a focus on establishing, developing and supporting the long-term maintenance of green prescribing projects will support the long term goals related to healthier and more sustainable communities both in terms of social and psychological resources but also in regard to environmental gains. 

Dr Menna Brown, Swansea University

 The Future of Work: Addressing the Needs of Marginalised Young Men

It is believed that advances in technology will create future employment changes. These changes are predicted to include a decrease in manual work (Frey and Osborne, 2017) and negatively affect low-skilled, poorly-educated young people, particularly young men (Hawksworth et al., 2018). In response to this potential impact, Welsh Government policy focuses on providing opportunities for lifelong learning to upskill individuals. Yet, this raises the question of how you upskill those with a disaffected association with education. If we fail to address this issue, some young men may find themselves unemployable in the future. Therefore, the goal of the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations Act of creating a prosperous Wales will be unachievable.
    My qualitative research, situated in the South Wales valleys, seeks to contribute to the understanding of such issues. It focuses on the educational experiences, employment aspirations and masculine identity of a group of marginalised young men and considers the impact of predicted future employment changes. This subgroup of young men is often associated with macho identities, anti-learning and manual employment aspirations. However, my research findings identified behavioural changes, including a partial commitment to learning, evidence of social and emotional skills (Gater, 2023) anticipated to become in demand with future work changes, and some deviation from manual employment orientation. These findings allow us to consider the possibility that contemporary marginalised young men’s views and behaviours are changing, creating targeted interventions to make them fit for future technological change and delivering on the aim of creating a prosperous Wales.

Dr Richard Gater, Cardiff University

 Simultaneous translation in the courts of law in Wales: a boost to the language rights of individuals and to the status of the Welsh language as a legal language

In Wales, anyone has the right to choose to speak Welsh in the court of law. This means that a simultaneous translator will be in place so that the English speakers in court can understand what the Welsh speaker is saying, translating what is said orally in real time. The right to use Welsh in court, whatever the witness’s spoken English standard, protects the language rights of the individual and also, elevates the status of the Welsh language and contributes to the legal identity of the language. Research in other language pairs, such as Spanish and English, shows that translators often omit hesitations in translation.

Words or phrases that do not add to the meaning of a statement but rather curtail the certainty, assertiveness or expansiveness of the rest of the statement such as ‘Dwi’n meddwl’ ‘Chi mod?’ ‘Am wn i’ a ‘Wel’.  The purpose of current research is to investigate the difference that including or omitting hesitations in translation has on the listeners’ perception of the speaker. The Welsh and English language pair is under-engaged in the context of simultaneous translation in court and

therefore, any research into this pair contributes to our understanding of the situation of simultaneous translation here in Wales. It is hoped that such research skill will inform our understanding of the significance of changes by the interpreter and as a result, ensures that interpreters receive the best working conditions to succeed in the court arena.

Non Humphries, Aberystwyth University

Are Welsh primary schools Sunproofed? Results of a national survey: Scoping the landscape of sun safety policies in Wales


Skin cancer is Wales’ most common cancer, but also highly preventable. School sun safety programmes are recommended by the World Health Organisation to reduce skin cancer however these are not mandatory in Wales. With prevention a key component of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, we sought to understand the role of Welsh primary schools in skin cancer prevention.


Understand whether schools have sun safety policies; assess whether policy adoption varies by location or school characteristics; and identify what support schools need.


An online, bilingual, multiple-choice survey distributed to all 1241 Welsh primary schools. The survey asked them about their sun safety practices and whether they had a formal sun safety policy in place.  


Survey findings are currently being peer reviewed however responses were received from a wide representation of both English and Welsh speaking schools from across the country.


This snapshot of the landscape of sun safety policies in Welsh schools will provide a basis upon which the comprehensiveness, effectiveness, and implementation of sun safety policies can be further evaluated to ensure a healthier Wales. 

Dr Julie Peconi, Swansea University

Pet-therapy using dogs to manage stress in university students

Using pets as a complementary therapy has existed historically and it was formally acknowledged and documented since the 1960s. Since formal recognition of its value in managing emotional distress of individuals, pet therapy has been researched as an intervention for stress relief, managing anxiety, and supporting to trauma. Physical health benefits of reduced stress-induced hypertension and blood pressure levels were also reported when engaging with pets. Increasing evidence for the benefits of pet-therapy has led to individuals being supported by therapy dogs in maintaining their independent functioning. Stress is a common denominator in life, but evident among university students who are aiming for higher education whilst managing life as an adult. This study investigated the experience of engaging with therapy-dogs in sessions for university students. This Welsh university has a higher proportion of students from widening participation background, which indicated a range of stressors affecting the study population.
Students enrolled at the university were invited to this study, and those who provided informed consent took part. The study used a within-subjects design with participants providing repeated measures on their wellbeing and perceived stress before and after attending a pet-therapy session. The session with therapy-dogs were offered in groups up to five for 15 -20 minutes.

Data collection is currently in its final stages. The findings of this study would contribute to understanding alternative ways of supporting students in universities to manage their stress levels be able to perform at the best of their abilities.

Dr Shubha Sreenivas, Wrexham-Glyndwr University

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