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Cyber security centre of excellence to open at Cardiff University

Credit: Sergei Konkov/Tass/PA Images

A new research centre to research into cyber security has been launched by Cardiff University and Airbus.

The Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics will be in Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science and Informatics and is said to be the first of its kind in Europe.

Researchers will carry out studies into machine learning, data analytics, and artificial intelligence for cyber-attack detection. The research aims to protect corporate IT networks, intellectual property, and critical national infrastructure.

Cyber security analytics is about improving our resilience to cyber-attacks through data modelling to detect and block malicious behaviour before it causes its full impact; but also about understanding what motivates the behaviour, what its likely impact will be, and how to communicate security alerts among decision and policy-makers.

– Dr Pete Burnap, Cardiff University

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Welsh researchers discover powerful new way to produce malaria drug

Scientists in Wales have discovered a new way of making a drug commonly used in the fight against malaria around the world.

Credit: James Gathany/Cdc/Handout/DPA/PA Images

The method, devised by researchers at Cardiff University, significantly reduces the time, and cost, taken to produce artemisinin, which is recommended by the World Health Organisation for treatment of all cases of severe malaria.

The worldwide supply of the drug relies on it being extracted from the plant Artemisia annua. It's a lengthy process, with 13 steps, so chemists began looking at a way of efficiently producing it in a laboratory.

There is an urgent need to produce the drug at low cost, because the current demand for artemisinin comes mainly from the developing world. The new method means the drug can be created in just four steps.

Our new method has essentially bypassed a number of key steps on the way to producing artemisinin.

What we're left with is a novel and powerful approach for producing the drug that does not rely on extraction from large amounts of plants. Our approach could reduce market fluctuations in the supply chain of artemisinin.

– Professor Rudolf Allemann, School of Chemistry, Cardiff University

Top award for designer of harness for mums-to-be

Dafydd, the harness and wife Ruth.

A medical harness designed by a North Wales businessman to help pregnant women combat acute pelvic pain has won a top industry innovation award.

The revolutionary harness is for women suffering intense pelvic girdle pain (PGP), also called symphysis pubic dysfunction.

Dafydd Roberts, from Pentrfoelas, has been working with medics from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) since designing the special support girdle to help his wife Ruth during her fourth pregnancy.

It's scooped the Judges Award in the MediWales Research & Innovation Award ceremony.

It’s quite an honour to receive the award. We really didn’t expect to win as it’s a relatively simple idea but a lot of hard work has been put in by so many health professionals and this success is testament to everyone’s ongoing commitment.

Up to now, we’ve opted for a soft launch really just to see how people respond to it. We’ve sold some online and we’ve had very positive feedback.

Things are now moving pretty quickly. The trials are ongoing at the moment across all sites at the BCUHB. We’re getting quite a bit of interest without really pushing the product. Once we know the outcome of the trial we will get a much better idea.

– Dafydd Roberts

Dippy the Diplodocus is to visit the Senedd

Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Dippy the Diplodocus sets off on a time-shifting tour of the UK in early 2018, bringing a flavour of the Jurassic to eight carefully selected venues across the UK including the National Assembly of Wales.

The 70ft plaster-cast sauropod replica has dominated the Natural History Museum's Hintze hall since 1979.

Then a decision was taken to retire Dippy from 2017 and replace him with the real skeleton of a blue whale.

The move went viral on social media with the launch of a Twitter campaign under the hashtag SaveDippy. More than 32,000 people signed a petition calling on the museum to change its mind.

The installation will attract thousands of people to the Senedd, the home of Welsh democracy. Working with our partners, we will provide unique learning experiences, linked to sustainability and science, for people of all ages.

We will also provide further opportunities for visitors to discuss Wales’s past and present and have a say about our nation’s future.

– Elin Jones AM, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales
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