Keynote Speaker:  Professor Uzo Iwobi CBE, FLSW, Founder & CEO, Race Council Cymru

Professor Uzo Iwobi CBE is  Founder and CEO, Race Council Cymru; former Specialist Policy Adviser to Welsh Government on Equalities, 2019-2021; and former Commissioner to the Commission for Racial Equality; prior to that she served as advisor to the 43 police forces in the UK by serving as representative of ACPO and 43 police forces on the Police National Diversity Team which was a national strategic tripartite group based in the Home Office.

Originally from Nigeria, Uzo holds a law degree from the University of Nigeria and she qualified as a solicitor and a barrister and was called to the Nigerian Bar. Uzo is founder of the African Community Centre Wales, and Race Council Cymru where she serves as chief executive and sits on the board of several voluntary organisations. Uzo was a Commissioner to the Centenary Commission established by Theresa May in 2018 and Uzo is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, University of Wales Trinity St David, Glyndwr University, and a Trustee of the Royal Commonwealth Society Wales. Uzo is the founder of the Black Lives Matter Wales Policy Forum, ZeroRacismWales campaign, founder of National Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Youth Forum for Wales and one of the founders of Black History Wales. She launched and facilitated the first Windrush celebration in Wales 2018. Uzo is an independent adviser to the Senedd Parliamentary Commission and a member of Welsh Government’s Accountability Panel scrutinising the implementation of the Antiracism Plan for Wales. Uzo was awarded a CBE for services to race equality and championing diversity and cohesion. 

Professor Hywel Thomas

Welcome from the Learned Society of Wales:  Professor Hywel Thomas, CBE, PLSW, Cardiff University

Professor Hywel Thomas is Professor of Civil Engineering at Cardiff University, the founder Director of the Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC) at the University, and a UNESCO Professor in the Development of a Sustainable Geoenvironment. He is a Distinguished Research Professor at Swansea University. He also leads FLEXIS, a £24 million project for energy systems research in Wales. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), and a Member of Academia Europaea, the Academy of Europe.

In 2017 he received a CBE for services to academic research and higher education.


Speed Networking Facilitator and Flash Talks Host:  Dr Amy Sanders, Aberystwyth University

Dr Amy Sanders is a Research Associate in Aberystwyth University and is part of the Centre for Civil Society Research in Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD).  Her research interests lie in equalities organisation and how civil society engages in policymaking. She joined WISERD to undertake her Ph.D. at Cardiff University on the subject of ‘Institutionalising equalities? Exploring the engagement of equalities organisations in the Welsh third sector-government partnership’. Her current research projects include an examination of how populism and political polarisation impact on local civil society, and a second one that explores patronage, elites and power relations in Welsh charities.

Prior to her PhD, Amy spent over 16 years working on projects that brought the third sector and public sector together in Wales. She was a director of a Welsh workers cooperative which promoted equality and citizen engagement, and she delivered participative projects for Welsh Government, local and public authorities and third sector organisations across Wales. She has also served as a Community Development Officer in a Community House, and as the Swansea Anti-Poverty Officer when she coordinated Swansea Poverty Action Network. Amy Sanders was awarded her first-class BSc. Econ. Degree and her MSc. Econ. from the University of Wales, Swansea.

Flash Talks Host:  Dr Emrys Evans, Swansea University

Dr Emrys Evans is a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Swansea University and a member of the Learned Society of Wales Researcher Development Advisory Group. His research is on advanced optical and magnetic spectroscopy to explore molecular materials and the functional properties arising from unpaired electrons. In 2019 he received a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship and in 2020, Emrys started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to explore ‘Radical energy and spin control in organic electronics’.  Emrys was awarded the Dillwyn Medal for STEMM in 2021 from the Learned Society of Wales for his work in the field of optoelectronics. In 2022 he received a Swansea University Research & Innovation Rising Star award.

In his role as member of the Society’s Advisory Group, Emrys aims to ‘support the development of researchers and the research environment in Wales with the perspective of a current ECR.’

Workshop Leader, ‘Peer Review:  Why and How’: Professor Simon Hands, FLSW, University of Liverpool

Professor Simon Hands is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Liverpool, with interests in spanning particle, nuclear and condensed matter physics. After studies at first Cambridge and then Edinburgh Universities, followed by postdocs at Oxford, Illinois, Glasgow and CERN, he joined the newly-formed particle theory group at Swansea University in 1993, before moving to the University of Liverpool in 2021. 

His research uses lattice field theory to study microscopic properties of matter  in particular the quark-gluon plasma thought to exist for temperatures in excess of a trillion degrees; and the ultra-dense quark matter possibly to be found in the cores of neutron stars.

A Fellow in the Learned Society of Wales since 2013, in 2021 Simon was recognised by the American Physical Society as an Outstanding Referee for his work on behalf of Physical Review. As a member of the Learned Society of Wales’ Advisory Group for Researcher Development, Simon perceives that  the toughest transition any ECR has to overcome is acquiring research independence, indicated by both access to resources and publication profile.  “My experience has been in theoretical areas of science, where a key skill is organising thoughts, ideas and workload to produce independent (perhaps even single-author) publications. Sometimes it’s hard to recognise longer-term research priorities, especially in a world apparently dominated by REF, bibliometrics, ever-increasing teaching loads, and social media. I have also worked closely with younger experimental colleagues and understand all too well the huge difficulties involved in equipping a research laboratory. I want to be able to guide ECRs to make the optimal choices and decisions to advance their careers.

Workshop Leader, ‘Peer Review:  Why and How’:  Dr Shareena Hamzah-Osbourne, Swansea University

Dr Shareena Hamzah-Osbourne completed her PhD in English Literature at Swansea University, specialising in contemporary women’s writing and gender & sexuality studies. She has peer-reviewed numerous articles for the Contemporary Women’s Writing journal, and her book, Jeanette Winterson’s Narratives of Desire was published in June 2021, with the paperback edition released in April 2023. Prior to her career in Higher Education, she worked in corporate communications in Malaysia. She has extensive experience in HE teaching and gained FHEA status in 2020, having taught full-time undergraduate and part-time mature students at universities in Malaysia, Iran, and the UK.  As a Florence Mockeridge Fellow at Swansea University in 2019-20, Dr Hamzah-Osbourne participated in various interdisciplinary research activities. She is currently completing Advanced Higher Education’s “Diversifying Leadership Programme”, funded by Swansea University. She works as the IT Service Desk Coordinator at Swansea University, leading a team who are the first line of contact for IT incidents and requests.

In addition to her professional achievements, Shareena is an ardent advocate for promoting diversity and inclusivity among Early Career Researchers in Wales, believing it to be of utmost importance.’

Workshop Leader:  Top N (N>10) Mistakes that Grant Applicants Make, Dr Adrian Osbourne, Swansea University

Dr Adrian Osbourne is the Research Development Bid Writer for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Swansea University. He supports academic colleagues applying for external research funding, including grants and fellowships from AHRC, ESRC, NERC, EPSRC, ERC, Wellcome, Leverhulme, British Academy, and many others.


A woman with medium-length brown hair smiles.

Workshop Leader:  Collaborative Leadership, Hanna Pudner, Consultant

Hannah Pudner is an experienced non-for-profit executive leader with experience of both the HE and international development sectors. She is now freelance and offers specialist support in leadership development, organisational culture, and staff engagement. She has a MA in Higher and Professional Education from the Institute of Education and is accredited with CIPR holding a Diploma in Strategic Public Relations.