West Yorkshire Innovation Festival: Innovation now – opportunities for business and universities to work together

Learn more about how working with Universities can benefit your business. Opening with a plenary exploring business resilience and opportunities in the face of the pandemic, Yorkshire Universities will present a range of insights and share an overview of available business support initiatives and programmes.

You’ll then have the opportunity to breakout into one of four interactive workshop sessions to explore opportunities for collaboration with universities on initiatives across healthcare, digital creativity, textiles and low carbon heating and cooling.

16 March 2021, 14:00-16:30pm, via Zoom

Register here.


14:00Welcome and introduction to the plenary

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford and Chair of Yorkshire Universities

14:15 – Panel presentations
Where business is now: perspectives from Yorkshire’s universities

Collaborative academic initiatives in support of pandemic recovery, including the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Framework
Professor Andy Brown (University of Leeds Business School)

Recovery toolkit and analysis of survival strategies for businesses across the region.
Dave Spicer (University of Bradford)

Opportunities for University based business support in higher education “cold-spots”
Natalie Allen (Calderdale University Business Centre)

Support for skills and investment opportunities for business start- ups during pandemic
Claire Newhouse (AD:Venture) 

What are the current conditions for entrepreneurial innovation?
Harrison Evans (Nexus, University of Leeds)

14:50 – Interactive Q&A

15:10 – Collaborate to Innovate Breakout Sessions

Collaborate to Innovate – Healthcare
Hosted by Leeds Beckett University

Join us to explore the challenges and opportunities for innovation in Health. This session will give an insight into the innovative research and development in the region, showcasing the latest in health research, medical technology development and collaborative opportunities. We will hear from a number of speakers from across the region discussing key topics relating to innovations in response to Covid, white-box machine learning in healthcare, and opportunities for digital innovation surrounding the safety of medicines and the supply chain. 

Collaborate to Innovate – Inclusive Creative Industries
Hosted by the University of York

The University of York is leading on enabling and supporting collaborative R&D for the creative sector across the region including immersive and interactive storytelling and the UK gaming sector. Come and find out more about our work through our interactive and visual case studies. Meet the people leading the research and businesses we have worked with and find out more about the different funding and engagement opportunities available to your business.

Collaborate to Innovate – Textiles
Hosted by the University of Huddersfield

Interactive session exploring challenges and opportunities for collaboration relating to innovation in the textiles sector. The audience will learn more about current initiatives in technical textiles and the Future Fashion Factory Programme. The participants will also have an opportunity to inform a new study which is seeking to map the innovation landscape for textiles in the region; and identify key priorities for future industrial collaboration. 

Collaborate to Innovate – Low carbon heating and cooling
Hosted by the University of Leeds

Interactive session exploring opportunities for collaboration and the co-development of strategies for sustainable low carbon heating and cooling. Perfect for businesses involved in the heating and cooling of their buildings or the supply chain side of electricity and heat generation.

16:15 – Closing remarks, signposting and next steps

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities
Sue Cooke, CEO of 3M BIC Innovation Centre, University of Huddersfield

16:30 – Finish


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Yorkshire Universities & Arup regional roundtable on the climate emergency: a summary

Monika Antal and James Ransom

The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity to accelerate efforts to tackle the climate emergency that should be capitalised on, representatives from Yorkshire’s universities agreed at the 5 May virtual roundtable convened by Yorkshire Universities and Arup. Several key themes emerged:

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Learning lessons from the Urban Living Partnership programme

Monika Antal, Executive Manager

In February, which seems a like a lifetime ago now, and when it was still permissible to gather in large groups, YU invited academics from Newcastle University to Leeds in order to meet university counterparts in Yorkshire, as well as local authority and health officials, in order to present findings from a newly-published report on some of the lessons learned from the Urban Living Partnership (ULP) pilots.

Find out more about why ULPs are important in these brief interviews by two of the report authors: Louise Kempton and David Marlow.

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Exploring the role of health in economic and inclusive growth

Senior leaders from the NHS, local authorities, education and industry met last week to explore the role of health in driving economic and inclusive growth in the Yorkshire and Humber Region.

The YHealth for Growth conference was hosted by the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), NHS Confederation and Yorkshire Universities and held at Cloth Hall Court, Leeds.

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#YHealth4Growth conference

On 9 December, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, the NHS Confederation and Yorkshire Universities co-hosted the YHealth for Growth Conference in Leeds. Read the event programme here and keep an eye out for the report to be published in January 2020!

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