Policy Forum for Wales

Next steps for science and innovation policy in Wales

Morning, Wednesday, 29th April 2020

Central Cardiff


This conference focuses on the next steps for science and innovation policy in Wales - including international partnerships, attracting and developing talent, funding, and innovation’s role in regional economic strategy.


There will be keynote contributions from:

  • Professor Peter Halligan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales;
  • Alyson Thomas, Director, Policy and Funding, HEFCW; and
  • Mark Gillan, Chief Technology Officer, Innovate UK.

At this early stage, further speakers include: David Notley, Chief Executive, Impact Innovation & Growth Service and Co-Chair, Innovation Advisory Council for Wales and Martin Pollard, Chief Executive, Learned Society of Wales.

The context for discussion

The conference is being held at a crucial time with a number of Wales and UK-wide policy developments taking place - including:

  • The creation of a new funding body for Welsh Higher and Further education, the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research;
  • HEFCW having set out its vision for research and innovation and now undertaking its implementation;
  • The UK leaving the European Union and negotiations beginning over the future relationship, including involvement in science programmes, as well as the introduction of a new UK immigration system; and
  • The UK government goal of increasing R&D spending as a proportion of GDP to 2.4% by 2027, including significant increases in public finance available to HEIs and R&D-intensive organisations in the private, public, and third sectors.

It also follows the National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee’s report which raised concerns about Wales falling behind other parts of the UK in competing for research funds and called on the Welsh Government to move forward with implementing the Reid Review of Government-Funded Research & Innovation in Wales in full.

The agenda

  • Priorities for developing the talent pipeline for science and technology in Wales;
  • Attracting and developing the skills and workforce to meet the needs of Welsh science;
  • The future for Wales’ international science partnerships post-Brexit;
  • The HEFCW vision for research - and what is required to make it a reality;
  • Funding Welsh science and innovation - increasing the share of UK-level funds, attracting private inward investment, and encouraging greater R&D spend by businesses in Wales;
  • Wales and emerging technologies - supporting knowledge exchange and commercialisation; and
  • How can R&D drive growth in the Welsh economy - coordinating industrial strategy, improving university-business collaboration, and priorities for IP management.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

Policy Forum for Wales conferences typically attract strong interest from policymakers. This seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: the Welsh Government; the Development Bank of Wales; the National Assembly for Wales Research Service; the Welsh European Funding Office; BEIS; the Food Standards Agency; and the Intellectual Property Office.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Peter Halligan

Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales

Alyson Thomas

Director, Policy and Funding, HEFCW

Mark Gillan

Chief Technology Officer, Innovate UK


Tamsin Mann

Head of Policy, Praxis Auril

Professor Diana Huffaker

Sêr Cymru Chair, Advanced Engineering and Materials and Scientific Director, Institute for Compound Semiconductors, School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University

Kathryn Monk

Group Manager for Integrated Evidence, Natural Resources Wales, and Honorary Professor, Research Impact, Swansea University

David Notley

Chief Executive, Impact Innovation & Growth Service and Co-Chair, Innovation Advisory Council for Wales

Martin Pollard

Chief Executive, Learned Society of Wales