Westminster Higher Education Forum

The future for UK science and innovation

Morning, Thursday, 28th February 2019

Central London


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

Timed to follow 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.

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 efficacy of R&D tax credits.

The agenda also looks at whether the sectors identified by 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.

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.

 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.

Keynote Speakers

Alice Frost

Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England

Pippa Hall

Director of Innovation and Chief Economist, IPO

Guest of Honour

Mike Biddle

Deputy Executive Chair; Chief Operating Officer and Director, Strategy, Innovate UK

Keynote Speakers

Jen Rae

Head, UK Innovation Policy, Nesta

Alice Frost

Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England

Pippa Hall

Director of Innovation and Chief Economist, IPO


The Earl of Selborne


Dr Anne Dobrée

Head of Seed Funds, University of Cambridge

Dr Jos van den Broek

Senior Researcher, Rathenau Instituut, The Hague

Ian Taylor

Chairman, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund and former Minister, Science, Space & Technology, Department for Trade and Industry (1994-97)

Zoe Martin

Policy Manager, Cancer Research UK

Justyna Ostrowska

Solicitor, IP Transactions and Commercialisation, Fieldfisher