Ben Coates – a keen climber, runner and outdoors enthusiast based on Cardiff – is a Civil Servant who has worked across Whitehall in a range of roles including Chief of Staff at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and, currently, Joint Head of Strategy at HM Courts and Tribunals. But it was as Head of Scholarships at the UK Foreign Office, where he led the Chevening and Marshall programmes, that he became passionate about international education and learning exchange. He is also a criminal law magistrate, a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Plas y Brenin, the National Outdoors Centre in North Wales – and will shortly stand down as a Trustee for Diverse Cymru, a Welsh equalities charity, after 4 years. He is a qualified Executive Coach and a mentor with the Social Mobility Foundation.
Kirsty Williams served for 22 years in the Senedd. In 2008 she was elected leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the first woman to lead one of the four main political parties in Wales. Between 2016 -2021 she was Minister for Education, leading a national mission of education reform. She retired from front line politics in May 2021. Alongside her roles at Taith, she is Vice Chair of Powys Teaching Health Board and serves on a number of community and charitable organisation’s boards in the county. She lives on the family farm in the heart of the Brecon Beacons and is an enthusiastic volunteer at Pontfaen Young Farmers Club and Powys Samaritans.
Professor Rudolf K. Allemann is a Distinguished Research Professor, Pro Vice-Chancellor International and Student Recruitment and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering at Cardiff University.
He received his first degree from ETH Zurich, followed by PhD work at Harvard University and ETH Zurich, and began his career as a postdoctoral researcher and Staff Scientist at the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, London. He later became Research Group Leader and Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at ETH Zurich.
In 1998 Professor Allemann moved to the University of Birmingham to become a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, before taking up the role of Professor of Chemical Biology in 2001. He joined Cardiff University in 2005 as a Distinguished Research Professor and became Head of the School of Chemistry in 2013.
In 2017 he was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering. In 2019 he became Chair of the Recruitment and Admissions Strategy Group and in 2020 assumed overall responsibility for the University’s global engagement activities.
He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and currently holds a Visiting Professorship at the University of Manchester.
Professor Allemann’s pioneering research is at the interface of chemistry and biology and he has a long-standing interest in understanding the fundamental mechanisms that control enzyme function.
His research group at Cardiff University apply a wide range of chemical and physical techniques to answer questions relating to the extraordinary catalytic power of enzymes, developing and applying chemical tools to probe and control biological processes in the laboratory and in live cells. Their work relies on an interdisciplinary approach at the interface of chemistry and fields such as biology, chemical ecology, material science, medicine and physics.
Darren Xiberras is currently Chief Financial Officer of Cardiff University and a member of the University Executive Board. He oversees all aspects of the University’s finances and financial performance. Prior to joining Cardiff University, Darren was Chief Finance Officer at the University of South Wales having joined them in 2019. Immediately before that, he held the same role for the education charity Teach First where he also oversaw the Human Resources (HR), property and IT functions. Prior to Teach First, Darren was Finance Director of ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez) UK’s £350m turnover public sector division, delivering property services to a multitude of blue-chip public sector clients across the UK. Darren has also been Director of Corporate Services for a national UK charity and held the role of Group Finance Director for an Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listed PLC delivering services to the public sector. He trained as an accountant with South Wales Electricity PLC. Darren currently holds the chair for the Welsh Higher Education Finance Directors’ Group (WHEFDG) and sits on the Executive Committee for the British Universities’ Finance Directors’ Group (BUFDG). Darren is a Trustee of the Difference Education Limited which works to reduce exclusion from mainstream schooling. He is also a Board member of the National Citizen Service and is chair of their audit and risk committee.