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.

Establishing the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) and its key future priorities

August 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will be an opportunity to discuss key issues around the creation of the new agency, with the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill currently awaiting its second reading in the House of Lords.

Drawing on DARPA in the United States, the UK agency will aim to streamline research and development and support high-risk innovation.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session on progress with Sarah Hodgetts, Deputy Director for Science, Research and Innovation, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; as well ask keynote contributions from Anne Sofield, Programme Director, Simpler and Better Funding, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); and Dr Alan Bernstein, President & CEO, CIFAR.

The conference will also be an opportunity to discuss the wider landscape for research and development in the UK following the publication of the Government’s R&D Roadmap, and how this dovetails with recent developments in the UK’s ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The agenda will also bring out latest thinking on:

  • key focus areas for research
  • allocating research funding under ARIA, oversight and providing value for money, and freedom of information and public scrutiny
  • developing the institutional research culture in ARIA and supporting high ambition
  • ARIA’s role in the wider R&D system


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons and officials from the Animal and Plant Health Agency; BEIS; British Consulate General Calgary; the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory; Defra; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Department for Transport; Department of Health and Social Care; the Government Office for Science; HM Revenue & Customs; HM Treasury; the Information Commissioner's Office; the Intellectual Property Office; Office for National Statistics; the UK Space Agency; and the Welsh Government. Also due to attend are representatives from Aerospace Technology Institute; AIRTO; BAE Systems; Bath Spa University; Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult; Fera Science; FTI Consulting; High Commission of Canada; LGC; LifeArc; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; MBDA Systems; National Institute for Health Research; Newcastle Joint Research Office; Newcastle University; NHS Highland; Northumbria University; Policy Connect; Roke Manor Research; SAGE Publishing; Science and Technology Facilities Council; Seqirus; Taylor Vinters; TBAT Innovation; Technopolis; Teesside University Business School; The British Academy; The Open University; UK Aerospace Research Consortium; UK Centre For Ecology & Hydrology; UKRI; UK Water Industry Research; University of Bristol; University of Cambridge; University of Edinburgh; University of Glasgow; University of Leeds; University of Lincoln; University of Sheffield; University of Southampton; University of Strathclyde; Wessex Institute and Worldwide Cancer Research.

Press passes have been reserved by representatives from Politico Europe; University Business and ZDNet.

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

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles