Westminster Higher Education Forum

UK science and innovation policy – funding and investment, commercialisation and IP management, and the international positioning of UK research

Morning, Wednesday, 25th March 2020

Central London


This conference will examine priorities for science and innovation investment and policy reform.

It is bringing together businesses, research institutes, academic publishers, embassies and universities with key policymakers.

Delegates will discuss the way forward for science and innovation funding, following the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that the Government intends to increase funding to meet its ambition of 2.4% of GDP being spent on research and development by 2027.

Overall, sessions in the agenda focus on:

  • The UK’s future role within the international science and innovation community;
  • Priorities for science spending - current and new public funding streams, leveraging private and third sector investment, and where Britain can lead on emerging technologies;
  • Protecting the content of research in an open research landscape;
  • Maximising the UK research base commercially - improving IP management, supporting spin-outs and overcoming barriers to strengthened university-industry partnerships; and
  • Priorities for supporting continued investment and innovation in STEM research.

There will be keynote contributions from:

  • Mike Biddle, Programme Director, Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Innovate UK - discussing the policy priorities for developing the UK’s capacity in science and innovation research and investment - building on the work of the Industrial Strategy;
  • Patrick Child, Deputy Director-General, Research and Innovation, European Commission - presenting on the future relationship between the UK and its European partners in international research; and
  • Pippa Hall, Director of Innovation and Chief Economist, IPO - examining the priorities for STEM research institutions to protect the value and individuality of their research as the UK and international research community move towards an open research model.

Further confirmed speakers include: Alice Hu Wagner, British Business Bank; Katie Mills, Schneider Electric; Andrew Muir, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund and Early Advantage Fund and Midven; Dr Maria Nelson, Digital Catapult; and Lisa Perkins, BT.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

Westminster Higher Education Forum conferences typically attract strong interest from policymakers. This seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: BEIS; DEFRA; DIT; the Department for Transport; the European Commission; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; HMRC and the Welsh Government.

Keynote Speakers

Pippa Hall

Director of Innovation and Chief Economist, IPO

Patrick Child

Deputy Director-General, Research and Innovation, European Commission

Mike Biddle

Programme Director, Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Innovate UK


Katie Mills

Head of Innovation, Schneider Electric

Professor Mike Trenell

Director, National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory

Alice Hu Wagner

Managing Director, Strategy, Economics and Business Development, British Business Bank

Lisa Perkins

Director, Adastral Park and Research Realisation, BT

Andrew Muir

Director and Fund Principal, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund and Director, Early Advantage Fund and Director, Midven