Science and the Senedd/Gwyddoniaeth a’r Senedd 2022

17 May 2022, Cardiff, United Kingdom

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

The theme for 2022 is Building our Future: Research and Innovation in Wales.


James Bain, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

James Bain is a doctoral student at Cardiff University. His research project is focused on the impact of hydrogen on the resilience of gas turbines for Power Generation. His project is funded by EPSRC and industrial sponsors RWE Generation UK. Within the project, James is investigating the effect of turbulence on the ignition of inhomogeneous mixtures of hydrogen-enriched fuels and oxidants under reheat combustion conditions. James' previous academic endeavors include a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master's degree in Sustainable Energy & Environment. Both were awarded by Cardiff University. James also has industrial experience as a Balance of Plant engineer at Pembroke Power Station where he carried out site projects and organised and executed outage works, primarily regarding compliance with Pressure Systems Safety Regulations

Kellie Beirne, Chief Executive, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, United Kingdom

Kellie Beirne is Director of Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and was formerly Deputy CEO at Monmouthshire County Council. Kellie is a board member of Research England – UKRI’s largest funding council and is currently involved in a review of the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and is a contributor to the Learned Society of Wales’ work on Innovation Strategies. Kellie also sits on the Science and Innovation Advisory Council for Wales and is a member of the Prince’s Trust Cymru Board. Kellie is a busy mum and volunteer.

Dean Cook MBA, FRSB, Place, Levelling up and Regional Engagement UK, InnovateUK, United Kingdom

Dean Cook is the senior lead for Place and Levelling up at Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, and a council of UKRI. His core team of English Regional and Devolved Nation engagement managers are responsible for strategic partnership building across the UK. The team has responsibility for developing Innovate UK’s Place R&D approach and developing strong relationships with local and devolved authorities, governments, and local business leaders. He is also the Associate Programme Director for the UKRI ‘Strength in Places Fund’ and has a small programme management team that will be delivering new programmes to support innovation cluster development including the new ‘Innovation Accelerator’ pilots. With a technical background in agriculture and food, Dean originally joined Innovate UK in 2014 as an innovation lead for that sector.  With over 30 years practical experience in research commercialisation, he was formerly at Defra’s ‘Food and Environment Research Agency’ in York, where his early career was as an applied biologist before moving into various roles within the agency’s commercial and science management teams. Dean is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and an MBA graduate of the University of Warwick. Originally from the South of England, Dean has lived in York for 26 years and has represented Innovate UK on a number of regional innovation-boards across the North of England. Dean has a strong interest in innovation clusters and brings a business perspective to UKRI discussions on Place based R&D.

Prof Rick Delbridge, Cardiff Business School and Centre for Innovation Policy, United Kingdom

Rick Delbridge is Professor of Organizational Analysis at Cardiff Business School. He is co-convenor of the Centre for Innovation Policy Research at Cardiff University where was formerly Dean of Research, Innovation & Enterprise and led the conceptual development and creation of the world’s first Social Science Research Park. He was a member of UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund Assessment Panel, is a member of ESRC Strategic Advisory Network and special adviser for research and innovation to the President of the Learned Society of Wales.

Eleanor Furness, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom

Eleanor Furness is a microbiology PhD student at Aberystwyth University. Her project, funded by an AberDoc university scholarship, focuses on the cold-adaption strategies of microbes in cryospheric regions. She uses a combination of metagenomic and genomic sequencing with bioinformatic analysis and lab-based physiological investigation to examine the mechanisms behind cold-adaption. Eleanor is also an associate lecturer at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences in Aberystwyth University, where she completed both her MPhil and Bachelor's degrees. She is a Microbiology Society Champion and STEM ambassador and has previously worked as as a Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) panelist for the Office for Students

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy, Welsh Government, United Kingdom

Vaughan was born in Zambia and brought up in Dorset. He was educated at Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities. He has one son with his wife, Michelle and is a largely retired cricketer who is also a fan of both rugby and football.

Vaughan was a solicitor and former partner at Thompsons. He is a member of the GMB, UNISON and Unite unions, and was the youngest ever President of the Wales TUC. He has previously served as a county councillor, school governor and community service volunteer – supporting and caring for a student with cerebral palsy. Vaughan is also a former president of NUS Wales.

Between 1999 and 2001, Vaughan worked as a researcher to former AMs Val Feld and Lorraine Barrett and between 2001 and 2003, was the chair of Right to Vote – a cross-party project to encourage greater participation from black minority ethnic communities in Welsh public life. He is also a current member of the Co-operative Party.

Vaughan has held the following roles in government, before taking up his current role as Minister for the Economy in May 2021: Cabinet Secretary/Minister for Health and Social Services May 2016 to May 2021
Deputy Minister for Health September 2014 to May 2016 
Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty June 2013 to September 2014

Peredur Owen Griffiths MS, Member of the Senedd, United Kingdom

Peredur has been a Community Councillor for Trecenydd in Caerphilly since 2017 and served for two years as the Chair of Penyrheol, Trecenydd and Energlyn Community Council. He previously served as Chair of the Plaid Cymru Caerphilly Constituency. A long time campaigner for Plaid Cymru, Peredur was elected to the Senedd the first time he stood for election.

Olivia Harrison, Chief Executive, The Learned Society of Wales, United Kingdom

Olivia Harrison is the Chief Executive of the Learned Society of Wales - Wales’ national academy for arts and sciences. She joined the Learned Society of Wales in February 2022, coming from her role as Head of Research, Innovation and Engagement at the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). Olivia trained and worked as a chartered structural engineer before moving into higher education policy in Wales. Starting in public affairs at Universities Wales and moving into research policy, Olivia rapidly became recognised as an expert in the area of research and innovation policy on the UK higher education stage. In her role at HEFCW she oversaw the core funding to Welsh universities for research and innovation activities as well as leading on the development of HEFCW’s ‘Research and Innovation: The Vison for Wales’. 

Mark Isherwood, Vice-Chair, Cross-Party Group on STEMM, United Kingdom

Mark was first elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 2003, before being re-elected in 2007, 2011, 2016 and 2021.
In the Second and Third Assemblies he was the Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister in a range of areas, including Finance, Education, Social Justice, Equality and Housing, as well as being the member of a number of Assembly committees and chairing the Assembly’s Legislation Committee No. 5. He also chaired Cross-Party Groups on Fuel Poverty, Neurosciences, and Funerals and Bereavement.
In the Fourth Assembly he was the Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Communities, Housing, Policing and North Wales, as well as sitting on the Assembly’s Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee and the Assembly’s Standards Committee.
Currently, he is the Shadow Minister for Social Justice and Shadow Counsel General. He is also the Chair of the Senedd’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee as well as Chair of Cross-Party Groups on Autism, Neurological Conditions, Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, Hospices and Palliative Care, and Funerals and Bereavement.
Mark has been a Vice-Chair of the Cross-Party Group on STEMM since 2021.

Paul Lewis, Chief Operating Officer, Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom

Paul Lewis is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) providing leadership to cross-organisational activities in support of the delivery of our strategy and business plans. Paul leads our international STM journals, books and data publishing business with supporting technology and, sales & marketing teams as well as overseeing our global operations. Paul has a wider organisational leadership role, developing RSC strategy and capabilities as well as representing the RSC in the UK and internationally. A qualified teacher with an MBA, he has substantial senior leadership experience in the educational assessment, adult training and, STM sectors with specialist government-to-government consulting and, international operating expertise. Paul is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and, Institute of Leadership & Management in the UK. He was born and lives in Cardiff.

Prof Sarah Main, Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), United Kingdom

Professor Sarah Main is the Executive Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering and 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 industry, charity and academic leaders across the UK science base.
Sarah trained as a molecular biologist and became an independent researcher, working with Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council in London and Cambridge, where she held the Charles and Katherine Darwin Research Fellowship at Darwin College, University of Cambridge. She later worked in strategy and funding at the Medical Research Council, and in Government on leverage of investment from public funding of science and research for a Treasury review of public spending.
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; and the Reid review of Government Funded Research and Innovation in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh Government. 
Sarah is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Trustee of the British Science Association and of the Foundation for Science and Technology. She is an Honorary Professor at the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy at University College London and a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster.

Eluned Parrott , Head of the Institute of Physics in Wales, United Kingdom

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and former member of the Senedd, Eluned leads the IoP’s strategy and activities within Wales.
Before joining the IoP, Eluned was the first Director of the Unite Foundation, a young educational charity working with care-experienced and estranged students across the UK, and has more than 20 years’ experience in working in schools and public engagement for organisations such as Techniquest, National Youth Arts Wales and Cardiff University.  
Eluned is particularly interested in how policy development in Wales can help to create a diverse and supportive STEM ecosystem for the future, encourage research and development to boost the economy and engage citizens in meaningful conversations about how science impacts on their lives.
In addition to her work with the IoP, Eluned is a Trustee of the National Botanic Garden of Wales an Infrastructure Commissioner for Wales and Chair of the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services.

Abigail Phillips, Head of Innovation, Economy, Skills & Natural Resources
, United Kingdom

Abi is passionate about public sector delivery, having held a variety of policy and delivery roles within Welsh Government focussed on innovation and the development and implementation of new technologies. She has a BSc in Business Studies, an MSc in Health Policy and has been involved in a number of cross sector programmes including the Small Business Research Initiative and the Digital Health Solutions Fund.
Abi is currently Head of Innovation within the Economy, Science and Natural Resources Department, responsible for the development and implementation of a cross Government Innovation Strategy.
Outside of work Abi volunteers as Treasurer for a grassroots football club in South Wales, which provides opportunities to enjoy the game for over 200 members. 

Pryderi ap Rhisiart, Managing Director, M-SParc, United Kingdom

Appointed as M-SParc’s Project Manager in 2014, Pryderi was responsible for overseeing the delivery of the award-winning £20m capital project on time and under budget. He was subsequently appointed as Director in 2018 and now provides the Strategic Direction for the company. Born and bred on the Llyn Peninsula, Pryderi graduated in Economics at the University of Wales Aberystwyth, completing his Masters degree at Liverpool John Moores University. He previously worked within Local Government and has been involved in a number of businesses since he was 16. Pryderi wants to ensure the region’s communities flourish in the future and he’s focused on delivering high quality employment opportunities.

Nia Roberts, Innovation Consultant, United Kingdom

Nia is an innovation consultant based in Llandudno, North Wales.

A farmer's daughter from Anglesey, Nia graduated in Physics from the University of Manchester before becoming a Patent Examiner at the European Patent Office in the Netherlands. Returning to the UK, she joined the IP department of a science-based multinational, qualifying as a UK and European Patent Attorney and eventually managing the IP function.  She then returned with her family to North Wales, initially working as an IP consultant before joining the Innovation Team at the Welsh Government. Her most recent role was working for the former Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Professor Peter Halligan, as part of the Welsh Government Office for Science.

Nia is a European Patent Attorney, a Chartered Physicist and a Member of the Institute of Physics, sitting on the IoP Wales Committee. She is also a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network and a STEM Ambassador. Nia is bilingual in Welsh and English and fluent in several other European languages as well as having Level 1 British Sign Language. She is currently building up her Non-Executive Directorship portfolio.

Jack Sargeant MS, Vice-Chair Cross-Party Group on STEMM, United Kingdom

Jack Sargeant is the Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Alyn and Deeside. Jack was born in Bodelwyddan and has always lived in Connah’s Quay. He attended Connah's Quay High School and went on to study for an engineering apprenticeship at Coleg Cambria before completing a degree course at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham, whilst working at DRB in Deeside.
Jack was elected as MS for Alyn and Deeside at a by-election held on 6 February 2018. At 23 years of age, Jack Sargeant became the youngest ever Member when he was elected to Welsh Parliament. 
Jack is the current Chair of Petitions Committee at the Senedd and is a passionate advocate for Welsh manufacturing and engineering.

  • David Rees United Kingdom

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