Westminster Higher Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or call +44 (0)1344 864796.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

Next steps for UK research and innovation - policy, strategy, and organisation, business-HE and international collaboration, investment, and the workforce

Morning, Tuesday, 25th January 2022

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on priorities for supporting research and innovation - and will be an opportunity to examine the issues in the context of the Government’s Innovation Strategy, looking at its main elements and objectives, and issues for implementation. 

Taking place in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect discussion on how the experience of collaboration can be taken forward, and consider how proposals outlined in the Government’s Build Back Better plan for recovery can impact the sector.

Delegates will also consider priorities for the workforce and evaluate the proposals in the R&D People and Culture Strategy for delivering improvements, as well as further measures that may be necessary.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with Paul Mason, Director, Innovation Policy, Innovate UK; Lord O’Neill, Chairman, Northern Gritstone; and Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to Irish Government.

Overall, agenda will bring out the latest thinking on:

  • business innovation - priorities for support and leveraging UK research strengths
  • university-business cooperation - and the impact on local growth and investment
  • international cooperation - opportunities for growth
  • the innovation system - coordination, facilitating knowledge exchange, reducing regional disparities, and development of clusters
  • finance - improving availability and access, stimulating domestic and international investment, options for regulatory and tax reform, and supporting SMEs
  • the innovation workforce - international recruitment, up-skilling, workplace culture, and supporting job mobility and diversity
  • policy priorities - taking forward the Innovation Strategy and priorities for implementation


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials and regulators in this area of public policy, together with university leaders, research funders and charities, science and technical centres, think tanks, research intensive businesses, start-ups, consultancies, investment bodies, local government, as well as academics, researchers in this field and reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Paul Mason

Director, Innovation Policy, Innovate UK

Lord O’Neill

Chairman, Northern Gritstone

Professor Mark Ferguson

Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to Irish Government


Chi Onwurah MP

Shadow Minister for Science, Research & Digital


Laura Darnley

Legal Director, Brabners

Penny Simmons

Legal Director, Pinsent Masons

Dr Joe Marshall

Chief Executive, NCUB

Tom Samson

Chief Executive Officer, UK SMR Consortium

Professor Luke Georghiou

Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester