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UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) chairs visit TWI

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Fri, 17 May, 2019

Sir John Kingman, the chair of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and deputy executive chair of Innovate UK, Simon Edmonds, visited TWI’s headquarters near Cambridge.

The visit, which took place on 30 April, was in line with the UK Government's objectives to assess how the work of TWI feeds into UKRI’s first national research and infrastructure innovation roadmap project. With the UK Government’s clear commitment to spend 2.4% of total GDP on R&D by 2027, UKRI is actively working on assessing current research and innovation infrastructure, with a view to determine best use of current and future  funding allocations. This commitment is currently equal, in real money terms, to over £7 billion per annum, although this could change over the next few years.

Sir John Kingman and Simon Edmonds were given a presentations by TWI CEO Aamir Khalid and Head of Funding Simone Gubbins, as well as a tour of the facilities.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss TWI’s upcoming growth plans, and how TWI can play a major role in providing significant private R&D investment to help the UK Government meet its 2.4% commitment. There was further discussion around the Research Technology Organisation Sector (“RTO”) as a whole, access to funding and how AIRTO’s current road mapping exercise should play a key part in informing the UK Government on the right levers to pull, to enable the 2.4% target to be met.

Industrial Strategy Policy

In 2017, the UK Government adopted an Industrial Strategy policy with the aim of boosting productivity by directly supporting business in creating good jobs and increasing the earning power of people across the UK. This is to be achieved through an investment in skills, industry and infrastructure.

A policy paper has outlined the Industrial Strategy Policy, which will develop the skills of young people to meet the demand of the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future. At the same time, the policy will identify industries of strategic value to the economy, uniting government and industry in promoting and developing these industries of the future. The Industrial Strategy includes the determination of our areas where Britain can lead the global technological revolution. These four areas, known as the ‘Grand Challenges,’ have been highlighted on the advice of leading scientists and technologists.

Meeting the UK Government’s Grand Challenges

TWI’s applied research for our Industrial Members, aligns with Innovate UK’s Grand Challenges, which focus on the global trends for industry related to artificial intelligence and data, the ageing society, clean growth, and the future of mobility.

An example of how TWI matches with these areas is through our work with electrification, as new technologies aim to revolutionise the future of transport and the associated infrastructure. While this area of innovation aligns with clean growth and the future of mobility, TWI’s cross-industrial sector work with our Industrial Members meets many of the other ‘Grand Challenges’ highlighted by the UK Government.

Our work with the medical sector, for example, can assist with the challenges of an ageing population, while TWI’s close ties to the energy sector and the promotion of artificial intelligence in joining applications are examples of where our expertise meets the needs of industry for the future.

About the UKRI

The UKRI works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and the UK Government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.

With the aim to maximise contributions, the UKRI works with many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. Operating across the whole of Britain, the UKRI brings together the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Innovate UK; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Research England; and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. A non-departmental public body, Innovate UK is funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK Government, with the aim of driving productivity and economic growth by supporting business in developing and realising the potential of new ideas. 

Innovate UK works with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation. Connecting businesses with the partners, customers and investors to turn ideas into commercially successful products and services, Innovate UK funds business and research collaborations in order to accelerate innovation and drive investment into research and development.

Since 2007, Innovate UK have invested around £2.5 billion which has been matched by industry to take the total value of projects above £4.3 billion. Over 8,500 organisations have been helped to create around 70,000 jobs as well as delivering an estimated £18 billion of value to the UK economy.

Innovate UK support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.

You can find out more about the UKRI at their website.

Left to Right: Sir John Kingman, Simone Gubbins (TWI), Simon Edmonds, Aamir Khalid (TWI), Tat-Hean Gan (TWI), Menno Hoekstra (TWI).
Left to Right: Sir John Kingman, Simone Gubbins (TWI), Simon Edmonds, Aamir Khalid (TWI), Tat-Hean Gan (TWI), Menno Hoekstra (TWI).

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk