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.

The developing role of universities in regional economies - innovation and R&D, skills, partnerships, opportunities, and the impact of national policy

Morning, Friday, 3rd December 2021

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

This conference will discuss the contribution of the HE sector - including its skills, teaching, and research and innovation outreach programmes - to reducing regional disparities and supporting development across the UK, and how it can be maximised.

It will also be an opportunity to discuss the expected Levelling up White Paper and the R&D Places Strategy, and what it means for the sector - as well as the UUK #Getting Results campaign and the Innovation Strategy.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Lord Kerslake, Chair, Sheffield Hallam University and President, Local Government Association; Richard Brabner, Director, UPP Foundation and Member, Steering Group, Civic University Commission; Ceri Nursaw, Chief Executive, NCEE; and Tom Richmond, Director, EDSK

The agenda will bring out latest thinking on:

  • the role of UK universities in regional development
  • maximising the contribution of the HE sector in recovery from COVID-19
  • how HEIs can help develop the wider skills landscape
  • case studies in developing the civic contribution of HEIs, including:
    • local research and civic partnerships to tackle climate change and meet net-zero targets
    • promoting culture and heritage and the creative industries
    • supporting student entrepreneurship


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 and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from university leaders, students and student groups, teachers and faculty members, programme coordinators, skills and employment bodies, technical and science centres, business leaders, local government, researchers and academic commentators, together with 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

Richard Brabner

Director, UPP Foundation and Member, Steering Group, Civic University Commission

Lord Kerslake

Chair, Sheffield Hallam University and President, Local Government Association

Tom Richmond

Director, EDSK

Ceri Nursaw

Chief Executive, NCEE


Dr Joe Marshall

Chief Executive Officer, National Centre for Universities and Business

Matthew Guest

Policy Manager, Places, Skills and Knowledge Exchange, GuildHE

Jarmo Eskelinen

Executive Director, Data Driven Innovation Initiative

Professor Jane Robinson

Pro-Vice Chancellor, Engagement and Place, Newcastle University