The future of UK science and innovation

The future of UK science and innovation

This seminar will examine the future priorities for UK science and innovation:

  • With the Industrial Strategy White Paper expected to be published later in the Autumn;
  • As the Higher Education sector prepares for the formation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI);
  • Follows the announcement of the new Knowledge Exchange Framework, aimed at supporting and improving research commercialisation at UK universities; and
  • Amid uncertainty over the UK’s future access to EU science and innovation initiatives post-Brexit.

The agenda includes keynote addresses from Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive, Innovate UK, and Alice Frost, Head of Knowledge Exchange Policy, HEFCE.

Delegates will examine Innovate UK’s priorities and the impact of the new arrangement bringing it under one overarching body – UKRI – with the Research Councils.

They will also assess the future of the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation, including:

  • The new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – its impact on the UK’s ability to take the lead on commercialising emerging technologies;
  • Collaboration with EU nations – future arrangements and how losing access to EU science programmes might affect levels of investment in UK research more widely;
  • Investment in innovation – encouraging long-term funding, including the Government’s Patient Capital Review; and
  • Wider backing for in-UK research – including the future for the R&D tax credits and the Patent Box initiative, with France and Germany increasing R&D spend to 3% of GDP.

 Further sessions discuss next steps for improving the commercialisation of UK research, looking at:

  • Knowledge exchange strategies – including findings from HEFCE’s recent report on the position in universities;
  • IP management – improving its effectiveness for universities, and in their dealings with spin-out companies, as well as their management of IP more broadly;
  • R&D partnerships – progress in university-business collaboration since the Dowling Review and what further steps could be taken; and
  • Catapult Centres – the future for the current network, the prospects for additional centres to be developed, and implications of their absence from the Industrial Strategy Green Paper.

The draft agenda is copied below my signature, and a regularly updated version is available to download here. The seminar is organised on the basis of strict impartiality by the Westminster Higher Education Forum. Follow us @WHEFEvents for live updates.


We are delighted to be able to include in this seminar keynote addresses from: Alice Frost, Head of Knowledge Exchange Policy, HEFCE and Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive, Innovate UK.

Further confirmed speakers include: Alan Carlton, Managing Director and Vice-President, Europe, InterDigital; Dr David Docherty, Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Business; Morag Macdonald, Partner and Joint Head, International Intellectual Property Group, Bird & Bird; Dr Sarah Main, Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE); Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive, Science Council; Dr Tony Raven, Chief Executive, Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge and Irene Lopez de Vallejo, Director, Research and Development, Digital Catapult.

Liz Saville Roberts MP, Shadow Plaid Cymru Spokesperson, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Catherine West MP, Member, House of Commons International Trade Committeehave kindly agreed to chair this seminar.

Additional senior participants are being approached.

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