Science and the Assembly/Gwyddoniaeth a’r Cynulliad

22 May 2018 12:45-19:30, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Designed to foster close relations with the National Assembly and the Welsh Government, Science and the Assembly is organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Welsh science and engineering community.

The theme for 2018 is Science and Industry in Wales
Russell George AM, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Infrastructure, United Kingdom

Russell George AM has been the Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire since 2011. He is Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Infrastructure and currently chairs the National Assembly's Economy, Infrastructure & Skills Committee which holds the Welsh Government to account by scrutinising expenditure, administration and policy matters on issues pertaining to economic development; transport; infrastructure; employment and skills.
Russell’s priorities include supporting and encouraging new business start-ups and small business growth. He has also been previously involved in promoting improved transport infrastructure in Mid Wales including the Newtown bypass and has also campaigned for improvements in the availability of superfast broadband and mobile coverage in rural Wales.

Paul Lewis, Deputy Chief Executive, Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom

Paul is responsible for leading the Royal Society of Chemistry’s publishing, commercial and technology activities, maintaining and developing its position as a leading, high-quality publisher and knowledge provider. He has substantial senior leadership experience in the educational assessment, adult training and, skills credentialing sectors with specialist Government-to-Government and, international operating expertise working at Board/Ministerial level to deliver transformational change and improved performance. Paul is a qualified teacher with an MBA and also has top-tier management consulting, FE College leadership and; defence sector training experience.

Peter Knowles (Session Chair), Cardiff University, United Kingdom

Peter Knowles is Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at Cardiff University, where he has been since 2004, including a period as Head of School (2009-2013). He previously held a chair at the University of Birmingham (1995-2004), a lectureship at the University of Sussex (1989-95), and an SERC Advanced Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge (1987-89).

His Cambridge PhD was followed by postdoctoral work in Cambridge and at the University of Western Ontario.

Peter’s scientific interests are in calculating from first principles the quantum electronic structure of molecules, in order to provide quantitative predictions of structure, bonding, properties and reactivity of molecular matter. He has contributed to the development of many of the standard methods of computational quantum chemistry, and is a lead author of the widely-used Molpro software package. His research has been recognised through the award of the Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison, Marlow and Computational Chemistry awards. He is currently a member of the Council of the RSC.

Ian Brotherston, Head of Government Engagement at Innovate UK , United Kingdom

Dr Ian Brotherston has been Head of Government Engagement at Innovate UK since July 2017. Ian leads the Government engagement team that ensures Innovate UK informs and is informed by innovation policy and strategy development across UK government and governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ian joined Innovate UK in February 2015 as KTP Programme Manager.  In this role Ian had responsibility for strategic development and operational delivery of the programme.  Ian led both a major operational overall and strategic realignment of the programme.

Prior to Innovate UK Ian was Head of Enterprise at Heriot-Watt University.  At Heriot-Watt where he was responsible for the industry sponsored research, knowledge exchange, protection and exploitation of Heriot-Watt owned IP and enterprise creation.

His commercial background includes spells working for defence and security technology giant QinetiQ and Ionic Polymer Solutions, a chemical start-up company which developed novel high-temperature proton conductive membranes for fuel cells.

Philip Wallace, Associate Director – TWI Ltd, United Kingdom

Philip started his career as an apprentice technician at Swansea University and subsequently moved to pursue an industrial career in titanium manufacture with ‘Timet UK Ltd’ gaining extensive experience in both production and technical management whilst achieving ASNT (American Society of Non‐Destructive Testing) Level III certification in 1990. Having joined TWI in 2004 Philip went on to manage the TWI Technology Centre (Wales) in Port Talbot and is responsible for the strategic growth of the centre. Philip has since gained a Master’s Degree in NDT at University of Wales Trinity St David and is a Chartered Engineer with ‘The Welding Institute’. Now an Associate Director within TWI Ltd, Philip reports direct to the exec Board and also sits on a number of committees including the Rolls Royce /EPSRC strategic partnership operations board, Swansea University Industrial Liaison Committee and the Ser Cymru National Research Network Management Board.

Hywel Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

Professor Hywel Thomas is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement.  In this role he is responsible for the University's research activities and its engagement with innovation, including commercialisation and the broader economic impact of the University.

Professor Thomas is also a Professor of Civil Engineering, Director of the Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC) and a UNESCO Professor in the Development of a Sustainable Geoenvironment.

Previously Professor Thomas was the University's Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation and Engagement and Internationalisation (2010 to 2012). In this role he established strategy covering a diverse range of issues including technology transfer, student enterprise education and engagement with the University's stakeholders.

He has worked on numerous special initiatives, leading the University's work in areas such as student employability, widening access and communication and marketing. He was the Link PVC to the Physical Sciences and Engineering Schools within the University, charged with advising the Vice-Chancellor on their strategic development.

Prior to that role Professor Thomas was the Director of the School of Engineering, one of the University's largest Schools, from 2002 to 2010 and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation and Engagement from 2007 to 2010.

Sarah Main, Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering, United Kingdom

Sarah is Executive Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering. She represents the interests of CaSE members in the media and in high-level discussions with Government Ministers, Parliamentary Committees, Chief Scientific Advisors and senior civil servants. She engages with leaders across our members and a wide range of organisations that share the goal of ensuring the UK has an environment in which science and engineering can thrive. In 2016, Sarah developed a new strategy for CaSE, crystallising its mission and setting its agenda for the next five years.
Sarah trained as a molecular biologist and enjoyed a research career over ten years, working on molecular mechanisms of cancer and HIV. She completed her PhD with Cancer Research UK in London and did postdoctoral research with the Medical Research Council at University College London and the University of Cambridge, where she was a lecturer on DNA replication and cancer. Sarah held the Charles and Katherine Darwin Research Fellowship at Darwin College, Cambridge from 2004 to 2007.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a Trustee of the British Science Association.
In 2009, Sarah moved to the interface of science and policy, working on strategic programmes, governance and research grant funding at the Medical Research Council. She was seconded to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills during preparations for a Treasury review of public spending where she wrote a report on leverage of investment from public funding of science and research. 
Sarah has been a member of advisory groups for influential policy reviews, including the Centre for Social Justice's report, The Great British Breakthrough - Driving Productivity Growth in the UK, launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2017; and the Reid review of Government Funded Research and Innovation in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh Government and due to be published in 2018.

Making research and innovation work for Wales in changing times 

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) seeks to ensure the UK has the skills, funding and policies to enable science and engineering to thrive. Sarah will describe how CaSE works with Government and Parliament to make positive changes to this environment and what work it has done recently on R&D funding, skills and Brexit. She will ​reflect on the large scale changes underway in the research and innovation funding landscape, in the UK and Europe, and how Wales might seek to benefit from them. 


Paul Meredith, Sêr Cymru Research Chair, Swansea University, United Kingdom

Professor Meredith is the Sêr Cymru Research Chair in Sustainable Advanced Materials at Swansea University Physics Department, and also holds an Honorary Chair at the University of Queensland in Australia. He was educated at Swansea, Heriot-Watt and Cambridge Universities, and also spent six years as a senior scientist at Proctor and Gamble. His current research involves the development of new high-tech materials for applications such as optoelectronics and bioelectronics. He has particular interests and expertise in next generation semiconductors in which he has published > 200 patents and scientific papers. He is co-founder of several start-up companies including XeroCoat and Brisbane Materials Technology, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Premier of Queensland’s Sustainability Award (2013). He serves on several advisory boards including the Queensland RET Expert Panel and the ARENA Technical Advisory Board, and has a long and successful history of productive engagement with industrial partners.

Integrative Semiconductor Materials – Over the Horizon High Tech Manufacturing Opportunities for Wales

South Wales is now a globally significant manufacturing region for advanced semiconductors. A complete supply chain has emerged over the past decade in both silicon and compound semiconductor devices with companies such as IQE, NWF, SPTS and Microsemi employing thousands and feeding global supply chains in telecommunications, automotive and aerospace. In addition, a community of SMEs supply these major players, and research providers alongside innovation hubs such as the Compound Semiconductor Centre and Applications Catapult complete a sophisticated ecosystem. The question is: how do we grow this regional ‘jewel in the crown’ and maintain its competitiveness? In my talk I will address this question from the perspective of the research and innovation sector. I will discuss the emerging concept of ‘Integrative Semiconductor Materials’ – over the horizon thinking about how we merge new materials and processes with front-line-current-technology to deliver new opportunities in applications such as ‘nanohealth’, LiFi and power electronics. 

Julie James AM, Leader of the House and Chief Whip , United Kingdom

Julie James was born in Swansea but spent significant portions of her youth living around the world with her family. Julie spent her early career in London and then moved back to Swansea with her husband to raise their three children and to be closer to her family. Julie is a committed green campaigner, environmentalist and a keen swimmer and skier.
Until she was elected as Assembly Member for Swansea West, Julie was a leading environmental and constitutional lawyer. Prior to this, she was assistant chief executive at Swansea Council. She spent most of her legal career in local government, working as a policy lawyer with the London Borough of Camden before returning to Swansea to work for West Glamorgan County Council and then the City and County of Swansea.
Since being elected Julie sat on the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Enterprise and Business Committee and Environment and Sustainability Committee. Julie published the ‘Influencing the Modernisation of EU Procurement Policy’ Report as Chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee’s Procurement Task and Finish Group. Julie also sat as Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee’s Common Fisheries Policy Task and Finished Group.
Julie James was appointed Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology in September 2014. In May 2016 Julie was appointed as Minister for Skills and Science. Julie was appointed Leader of the House and Chief Whip on 3 November 2017.

Matt Collins, Head of Airframe Authority for Wing at Airbus, United Kingdom

Matt has been involved in the most of the Airbus aircraft developments on the wing over the last 26 years. As Head of Airframe Authority for Wing, Matt is responsible for delegation of technical authority (deciding who can sign off the wing design) agreeing how to show the wing compliant with the airworthiness requirements and the final signature on the wing certification documentation.

Tom Crick MBE, Swansea University, United Kingdom

Tom is Professor of Computer Science & Public Policy at Swansea University. His academic interests sit at the research/policy interface, solving data-driven and computationally-intensive problems across a range of domains, as well as science/innovation policy, data infrastructure, public service innovation and STEM education. He has been heavily involved in curriculum reform in Wales: in 2013, he chaired the Welsh Government’s review of the ICT curriculum; chaired the development of the new Digital Competence Framework in 2016; and was announced in 2017 as the chair of the new National Network for Excellence in Science & Technology, a £4m investment by the Welsh Government. Tom is Vice-President of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, as well as a non-executive director of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

Laura Baker and Debbie Baldrey, Tata Steel, United Kingdom

Creating a 21st Century UK Steel Industry by Delivering Innovation through Partnerships

Steel is all around us and underpins the manufacturing economy in the UK and Wales and the steel industry can play an important role in delivering the industrial challenges facing the UK in the 21st century.  Energy production and use, transport, infrastructure and packaging will all need to be revolutionised in order to develop a sustainable economy.  Some of this work is already underway through collaboration between UK steel, academia and local/ national government but there are many more exciting opportunities that can be realised through these partnerships.

Senedd and the Pierhead

Senedd and the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF10 4PZ, United Kingdom

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