New phase for Y Lab as Cardiff University becomes sole lead organisation

4 October

As our time as a partnership with Nesta comes to an end, Y Lab’s Director, James Lewis, reflects on some of the highlights and what’s coming next.

Y Lab, the public services innovation lab for Wales, begins a new chapter today as it becomes solely led by Cardiff University.

Having been a founding partner in Y Lab, Nesta will now be stepping back from its co-leadership role to focus on delivering its new strategy in Wales through Nesta Cymru.

I’m really proud of the work we’ve achieved together over the last six years.

We will still work closely with Nesta on many of our existing programmes, including Infuse, HARP and our work with Welsh Government and Behavioural Insights Team on COVID Behaviours. This work will continue alongside our emerging work - Cardiff Capital Region’s Challenge Fund and the All-Wales Intensive Learning Academy for Innovation in Health and Social Care.

Photo of a group of people including the author of the blog post at an Y Lab bootcamp
Some of the Y Lab team and Innovate to Save project teams at bootcamp in 2019.

The purpose of Y Lab - supporting Welsh public services to address societal challenges - is more important and urgent than ever.

In early 2022, Y Lab will move into SPARK, Cardiff University’s Innovation Campus. We will work with many other research centres, combining academic rigour with practical innovation work. This will build on our existing projects, such as exploring Dementia & Diversity, and understanding the impact of community legal empowerment in Lesotho.  

We begin this new chapter against the backdrop of the evolving COVID pandemic, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) about to start, and a detailed Programme for Government released by the Welsh Government.  The purpose of Y Lab - supporting Welsh public services to address societal challenges - is more important and urgent than ever. The combined application of innovation methods and mindsets with social science research methods will remain at the forefront of our approach.

For now, we are excited about the next chapter of Y Lab and look forward to working with many of you in the future.