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Thursday 28 February 2019 @ 08:30 - 13:00


Places at The future for UK science and innovation (including refreshments and PDF copy of the transcripts) are £230 plus VAT;
Concessionary rate places for small charities, unfunded individuals and those in similar circumstances are £85 plus VAT. Please be sure to apply for this at the time of booking.

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Following the publication of UKRI’s first Science and Innovation Strategy, it will be an opportunity to examine the Strategy, as well as consider the most effective application of funding in the context of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry on the balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending. It also takes place with significant increases in public R&D investment as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.


There will be keynote contributions from Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England; Mike Biddle, Deputy Executive Chair; Chief Operating Officer and Director, Strategy, Innovate UK; Pippa Hall, Director of Innovation and Chief Economist, IPO and Ian Taylor, Chair, UK Innovation& Science Seedfund and Former Minister, Science, Space & Technology, (1994-97).


Access to and utilisation of funding

The seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss how the increased investment in UK research and innovation can be utilised most effectively - including the balancing of competition-based funds with quality-related (QR) investment, the introduction of innovation loans and the efficiency of R&D tax credits.


The focus of investment

The agenda also looks at whether the sectors identified by the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge, such as energy storage, autonomous vehicles, precision medicine and quantum technologies, remain the most appropriate targets for focused investment, and what further areas of emerging technology could be considered. 


REF, KEF and commercialisation

Further sessions will consider issues surrounding the role of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in driving commercialisation of research, particularly with the increase in weighting of the impact criteria for REF2021 - including around improving management of intellectual property and encouraging university spin-outs.


Scientific infrastructure

With UKRI preparing to publish its infrastructure roadmap in Spring 2019, attendees will also assess priorities for investment in UK scientific infrastructure, looking at the opportunities for the UK to maximise the impact of existing facilities and the future for the Catapult Centre network.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • The Industrial Strategy and the Government’s pledge to invest 2.4% of UK GDP for R&D by 2027;
  • Channelling public spending on research and assessing its effectiveness;
  • The impact of KEF & REF on commercialisation of research;
  • Priorities for science and innovation spending - emerging tech sectors, regional economies and leveraging private R&D investment;
  • Addressing the challenges for commercialisation of research - managing IP, encouraging spin-outs and the licensing of university IP, and making the most of existing infrastructure and the Catapult Centre network; and
  • Priorities for UK innovation - the National Research and Innovation Strategy.


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.

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