Westminster Business Forum

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Next steps for growing investment for R&D in the UK and supporting scale-ups in key sectors

Morning, Wednesday, 24th January 2024

This conference will focus on priorities for innovation finance, and growing investment in business and university R&D in the UK.

Delegates will discuss progress, policy proposals and next steps for growing the availability of investment to support scaling up for innovative UK science and technology companies in sectors such as AI, life sciences, net zero and clean energy, digital, and major infrastructure. They will also assess options for maximising the impact on local and regional growth.

Stakeholders and policymakers will examine sources of government funding and how to increase confidence and expected returns for private investors, as well as priorities for widening funding sources and growing foreign investment. They will discuss strategies for supporting unicorns and futurecorns, and for strengthening the competitive positioning of the UK internationally in innovation finance.

The agenda will bring out latest thinking on key issues following the Government’s Science and Technology Framework, published in March 2023, which aims to enable the UK to become a science and technology superpower by 2030.

Further sessions assess priorities for public investment, including the likely impact of the Government’s recently announced £60m Regional Innovation Fund, which aims to increase support for universities with low levels of R&D investment, as well as the role of investment zones and freeport initiatives in bolstering regional innovation finance.

The agenda also looks at steps to reduce burdens for firms seeking public R&D investment and to further tackle barriers faced by the research system, following the Independent Review of Research Bureaucracy led by Professor Adam Tickell.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session with: Lord Holmes, Member, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee; and Vice Chair, APPG on FinTech.

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DAERA, NI; DBT; Department for the Economy, NI; DESNZ; DfT; DSIT; GO-Science; IPO; the Isle of Man Government; UKHSA; and The Scottish Government.

Keynote Speaker

Lord Holmes

Member, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee; and Vice Chair, APPG on FinTech

Keynote Speaker

Lord Holmes

Member, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee; and Vice Chair, APPG on FinTech


Professor Dr Paul Beasley

Head of Research and Development UK, Siemens

Sami Moughrabie

Managing Partner, ATMOS Ventures

Nicholas Hawker

Chief Executive and Co-Founder, First Light Fusion

Professor Dave Greenwood

Chief Executive, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick

Steven Wilson

Head of Innovation, Freeport East

Dr Joe Marshall

Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Business

Katy Shaw

Programme Director, Arts and Human Research Council, Creative Communities; and Director of University Cultural Partnerships, Northumbria University

Eileen Modral

Ecosystem Innovation and Growth Specialist, Oxford Innovation Advice

Chris Rowell

Head of Net Zero, Tees Valley Combined Authority