Academic Salon to consider future of UK’s industry collaborations

University and industry leaders in the UK will discuss the importance of collaboration between institutions, businesses and nations post-pandemic

May 13, 2020
Source: iStock

As governments around the world recalibrate their strategies under coronavirus lockdowns, the higher education sector is wrestling with when it will be safe to allow students and faculty to return to their campuses.

The limited access that academics and industry-based researchers have to their labs, libraries and other resources has prompted conversations about bolstering knowledge-oriented partnerships between academic institutions and businesses, primarily through the employment of 5G and AI ecosystems.

Figuring out how to work towards not only economic stability, but eventual prosperity and health solutions through such partnerships will be explored at the Times Higher Education online UK Academic Salon in partnership with Huawei on Tuesday, 19 May.

Phil Baty, THE’s chief knowledge officer, said: “The global coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, perhaps more than ever before, that the key to addressing the world’s biggest challenges, and to unlocking human potential, is collaboration – collaboration between sectors, including higher education, research, government and industry, and collaboration between countries.

“Indeed, even as the global health crisis prompts geopolitical tensions, shutting down national borders, it remains clear that we live in a globally interconnected world that requires globally interconnected actions.”

The half-day webinar will begin at 09:30 BST, starting with keynote speeches from Ian Walmsley, provost of Imperial College London, and Victor Zhang, vice-president of Huawei.

“New technologies such as 5G and AI are opening doors to new ideas that will transform our lives. We will also consider how innovation is transforming business and society, and how companies and academia can collaborate to address the opportunities and challenges presented by this change,” said Mr Zhang.

Panel-style discussions will interrogate how the UK can utilise its unique strengths in science and innovation to confront the pandemic. Sarah Main, executive director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, will lead a session on how the UK can ensure its status as a world leader in scientific research. And Rahim Taffazolli, founder and director of the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, will facilitate a conversation outlining how intelligent 5G can support these research capabilities.

Geraint Rees, professor of cognitive neurology at UCL, will look at the emergency through a public health lens by addressing how technology and innovation can alleviate the burden placed on the health sector during a crisis.

And equipped with her knowledge of research and business communities in the north of England, Annette Bramley, director of the N8 Research Partnership, will examine how innovation districts and their network of knowledge-producing organisations can drive economic growth, particularly in regions that have felt the financial toll of the crisis most acutely.

The webinar’s final panel will cover the inevitable concerns that new alliances between international researchers, born out of a “wartime spirit”, will falter once the pandemic has passed. University and industry leaders will discuss what UK universities can do to maintain and nurture international research collaboration post-pandemic.

Mr Baty concluded: “This highly timely Academic Salon provides a vital space to hear from leading experts across the academy and industry, to reassess the future of the UK’s outstanding research sector in a dramatically changing world, and to navigate a successful way forward into an uncertain future.”

Find out more and register for the UK Academic Salon webinar on 19 May 2020

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