Science & Innovation 2015 – Post Event Blog

June, 25, 2015

Science & Innovation 2015 – Post Event Blog

The National Science and Innovation Conference 2015 took place on the 10th June at the QEII Centre, London. Over the course of the day, influential speakers, including our main sponsors Fujitsu, Unilever and key case studies, provided delegates with the opportunity to discuss and examine the future of the UK’s science and research base, and gain best practice knowledge on driving innovation and securing growth through partnerships at home and internationally.

The day kicked off with presentations from key stakeholders across the science and innovation sectors including Innovate UK, previously known as the UK technology strategy board and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Building the New Billion Pound Growth Sectors from Emerging Technologies

Paul Mason, Deputy Director Research and Chief Scientific Advisor, Innovate UK opened the day, highlighting the exciting new opportunities for emerging technologies and the strategic approach to growing industries in these new sectors. Some of the big opportunities are highlighted in the below schematic.

Science 1

Britain’s Got Science Talent!

Jeremy Clayton, Director Knowledge, Innovation and International, BIS, highlighted the encouraging evidence that the UK’s science and innovation network has talent and it is growing.

Science 2

The UK’s Research is Efficient as well as Excellent

The UK is 2nd in the Global Innovation Index, up from 14th in 2009-2010 and with only 1% of the world’s population, the UK ranks 1st in the world for citation impact, producing over 6% of the world’s scientific publications (Global Innovation Index 2014; Elsevier 2013).

Alongside outlining the UK’s current success, BIS went on to outline their future plan for growth. This includes:

  • £5.9 billion capital investment in world class laboratories and major initiatives
  • Nurturing scientific regions through the Catapult Networks
  • Fostering global partnerships as highlighted by UK Space sector collaboration and the Newton Fund
  • Work to improving the STEM pipeline and number of skilled graduates entering the science and innovation sectors

Looking to 2015 & beyond, much focus was given to the upcoming budget on 8th July. There will be a single, clear efficiency programme with targets across publicly funded science and innovation but the government is keen to ensure that Britain remains the best place in the world to do science.

Following the morning refreshments was an introduction to some of the UK’s best examples of innovation in health sciences, personalised medicine and big data.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive, British Library began by highlighting the British Libraries role in the new London, Knowledge Quarter, home to the Alan Turing institute, furthering advanced mathematics and computer science which is applicable to a wide range of industries and disciplines. Dr Stephen Hague, Bio-Rad Laboratories introduced the audience to advances in cancer diagnostics, bringing personalised medicine within our reach and Professor Chris Brink delivered an insightful address into the recent investment into the National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation (NASI) based at Newcastle University. Rosa Wilkinson, Innovation Director, UK Intellectual Property Office rounded off the morning with an important discussion into patent application trends and challenges for the future of protecting innovation.

The afternoon sessions presented a clear trend that academic and industry partnership is alive and growing. Professor Colin Bailey, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, The University of Manchester highlighted the Government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative, developing the North’s collaborative expertise in innovation and material sciences, home to the UK’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) and the fasted growing regional economy.

Science 3

Matt Reed, Senior Open Innovation Director from Unilever highlighted how they are ensuring the rapid, global roll-out of customer innovations alongside Dr Peter Simpson, Director of the N8 Research Partnership, a collaboration of the eight most research intensive universities in the North of England, illustrated how they are removing the barriers to collaboration and working with industry to maximise the impact and commercialisation of research.

Closing the day was Alice Frost, Director (Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange) from HEFCE who demonstrated HEFCE’s commitments to supporting an increase in high-quality STEM students and securing the flow of highly employable graduates into innovative industries.

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