Westminster Higher Education Forum

Priorities for international research partnerships - funding, new global opportunities and future European collaboration

Morning, Thursday, 20th June 2019

Central London


The conference takes place as government works with UKRI to develop a new International Research and Innovation Strategy, setting out the UK’s priorities for building international research collaborations and attracting overseas talent post Brexit.

Sessions will consider how the UK can respond to challenges resulting from its exit from the European Union - including its future participation and role in Horizon Europe from 2021 onwards. Delegates  will look at the implications of the range of options including securing either third party or associated status, and the accessibility of European funding streams such as ERC grants, and the SME instrument for funding innovative projects with the potential to create new markets that are led by smaller organisations.

They will discuss the way forward for creating an effective policy and funding environment that continues to promote the UK as an attractive location to conduct collaborative research. It comes with concerns that some early career researchers and technicians will fall under the proposed minimum salary threshold of £30,000 for skilled migrants seeking five-year visas, as set out in Government’s white paper on post-Brexit immigration policy - and suggestions that the threshold should be lowered to £21,000.

Attendees will also discuss the next steps for developing new research partnerships outside of the EU, focusing on priorities for reducing barriers to collaboration between universities and businesses in the UK and their counterparts overseas - including issues around visas, joint funding of programmes and forging links between research centres.

Further sessions look at how to maximise the impact of UK research in international development, looking at the future for the Newton Fund and the Global Challenges Research Fund. Delegates will assess the impact of the funds so far and consider the next steps for addressing priorities, such as building research capacity in developing nations, supporting the Sustainable Development Goals and support for interdisciplinary research. 

Keynote Speaker

Re Hobley

Deputy Director, EU Exit Negotiations and Engagement, Business & Science Group, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Keynote Speakers

Dr Kate Hamer

Associate Director of European Partnerships, UKRI

Dr Sarah Honour

Head of Science and Innovation Strategy and ODA, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Re Hobley

Deputy Director, EU Exit Negotiations and Engagement, Business & Science Group, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy


Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe


Professor Kevin Horsburgh

Chief Scientist for International Development, National Oceanography Centre

Professor Kurt Deketelaere

Secretary-General, League of European Research Universities and Professor of Law, KU Leuven

Sophie Barrett-Brown

Senior Partner and Head of UK Practice, Laura Devine Solicitors

José Puyana

Minister Counsellor, Political and Economic Affairs, Embassy of Colombia to the United Kingdom

Dr Cat Ball

Senior Policy Manager, AMRC

Professor Nora de Leeuw

Pro Vice-Chancellor, International and Europe, Cardiff University

Dr Elizabeth Bell

former Newton Prize Programme Director, UK National Commission for UNESCO

Hilary Layton

Director of Global Engagement, University of York