Event summaries, slides and recordings

The Role of Innovation and R&D Investment to Level Up and Achieve Net Zero: A Cross-sector Perspective

Author WIG Date 15 Jun 2022

A recording of the WIG Webinar The Role of Innovation and R&D Investment to Level Up and Achieve Net Zero: A Cross-sector Perspective with Alexandra Jones, Director of Science, Research and Innovation, BEIS, Dr Arun Harish, Director of Strategy, CPI and Prof. Chris White, Director of Industrial Policy and Insight Centre at the MTC, Visiting Professor of Industrial Strategy at Loughborough University


Economic growth and prosperity

Technology and digital

The UK has a stated goal of achieving investment in Research & Development that accounts for 2.4% of GDP. To enable this BEIS laid out the R&D Roadmap in July 2020, followed by the R&D People and Culture Strategy in July 2021. On top of that, the recently published Levelling Up whitepaper committed to increasing domestic public investment in R&D outside the Greater South East by at least 40% by 2030. This has been done to leverage at least twice as much private sector investment over the long term to stimulate innovation and productivity growth.

R&D is critical to achieving a high skill, high wage economy. Yet the challenge is huge, with many predicting the 2.4% target is slipping away. So how can the public, private and academic sectors work closer together to achieve this critical target? Join us online to:

  • Hear from BEIS on how they are working to implement their R&D strategy and where they are looking to further support the ecosystem for increased R&D spend
  • Understand how government departments are working together to continue to build momentum to push the R&D strategy
  • Get insight from those outside government on the opportunities and challenges on achieving the lofty R&D targets

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Speakers at the Event

Alexandra is the Director of Science, Research and Innovation in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). She is responsible for making the most of public and private investment in R&D, including the £40bn being invested over the SR by BEIS. Her team works on issues ranging from the Innovation Strategy and the R&D Roadmap to Innovation Accelerators and commercialisation. Her team also sponsors UKRI.

Previously, she was Director of Industrial Strategy, where she led on the development of the 2017 White Paper.

Before joining BEIS she was Chief Executive of Centre for Cities from August 2010 until April 2017, during which time the organization influenced national and local policy including City Deals and won awards including the Prospect ‘One to Watch’ 2013 think tank award and the Regional Studies Association Regional Leadership Award for Policy and Practice.

Alexandra has worked with public and private sector leaders across the UK and beyond. Additional roles have included being Chair of the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium and the Fast Growth Cities group, and a Commissioner on both London Finance Commissions and the Cardiff Capital Region Growth Commission.

Alexandra is an experienced presenter and commentator for broadcast and print media and previously wrote regular columns in the MJ, LGC and Estates Gazette. Before Centre for Cities, Alexandra led the Knowledge Cities team at the Work Foundation and worked at the Department for Education and Skills as a policy advisor.

Arun leads strategies for CPI’s sustainable growth and impact generation. Since joining CPI in 2008, Arun has held diverse roles spanning technology commercialisation, innovation consulting, fund-raising from private and public sources and business development. He has also shaped the development of CPI’s National Healthcare Photonics Centre and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

Prior to joining CPI, Arun worked with venture capital funded technology start-ups in the UK (Farfield Group) and India (Tejas Networks), where he held business development and R&D roles. Arun is passionate about the role of innovation centres in enabling economic and societal impact and supporting cluster formation. He is a thought leader on investment readiness for high-growth SMEs, and has acted as Co-Chair for the European Commission’s Independent Steering group on investment readiness linked with SME actions.

Arun holds a PhD in medical nanotechnologies from the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University and an MBA from Warwick Business School, where he specialised in entrepreneurial finance and venture capital. Arun is the Founding Chair of a UK based charity UTSAAH (Uniting to Sustain and Assist Himalayan communities) which supports rural Himalayan communities in the areas of enterprise, conservation and healthcare.

Chris is the Director of the Industrial Policy Research Centre at Loughborough University, formed in collaboration with the MTC, and was the Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington, 2010-2017.

As an MP, he was a member of both the International Development and Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Select Committees and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on manufacturing. Prior to joining the MTC, Chris was the Director of the Institute for Industrial Strategy, King’s College, London.

Amongst other roles, Chris is now the President of the Warwickshire College Group, Vice Chair of Social Enterprise UK, Senior Visiting Fellow in the Department of Engineering, City, University of London and a member of the Manufacturing Policy Panel at the IET. He is proud to be the author of a Private Member’s Bill, which became the legislation now known as the Social Value Act. This Act now influences around £26bn (10%) of Government spending.