Harnessing Wales’ rich research and innovation heritage is vital to our future global trading success – this will be the clear call from the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns at the launch of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in Wales today.
The Secretary of State will be joined by UKRI chief executive Professor Sir Mark Walport at the event in Techniquest in Cardiff to introduce the new organisation to Wales, and to underline the UK Government’s continued commitment to supporting ground-breaking research and innovation in Wales.
Harnessing the diverse and ambitious research and development landscape in Wales is vital to the success of UKRI. From turning buildings into sustainable power stations and plastic-fuelled cars, to Alzheimer’s medication from daffodils and a genetics and genomics centre tackling the UK’s health, the breadth and depth of the innovative work in Wales plays a major role in fuelling the success of the UK on the world stage.
The launch event falls in the week leading up to the one year anniversary of the publication of the UK Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) plays a central role in the strategy, providing a single and stronger voice for UK researchers and innovators, and working closely with partners in academia, with business and with government to surface the most exciting ideas and opportunities, and to take them on the journey from discovery to commercialisation.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, said:
“Right across Wales, UK Government funding in research is yielding incredible results which are helping to build a greater understanding of the world we live in, as well as creating the next game-changing technologies and innovations.
“But we all need to do more if we are to support Wales’ transformation into a well-spring of innovation that could irrigate the whole of the British economy. This is where UKRI stands ready to support. Wales must now
capitalise on this all-new powerhouse backing British innovation, and work together with our universities and with the Welsh Government to drive partnerships between the best minds in research and business, and help to put Wales and the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.”
UK Research and Innovation was formed on 1 April 2018 by bringing together seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. It is the body that will help deliver on the UK Government’s commitment to invest £7 billion in new public funding for science, research and innovation.
It will also aim for the goal of research and development investment reaching 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027 – more than ever before.
UKRI investment in Wales includes:
- 264 active research grants with a value of over £187 million
- 351 companies funded, with 261 active grants worth £98 million
- Supporting more than 860 researchers across UKRI
The UKRI launch in Wales will be attended by organisations, researchers and business leaders from across Wales. Speakers include the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns MP, Professor Sir Mark Walport, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport Ken Skates AM, Peter Halligan, Chief Scientific Officer for Wales and Jenna Bowen, Chief Operating Officer at Cotton-Moutton Diagnostics – a start-up company spun out of the Universities of Exeter and Cardiff to exploit major business opportunities in the field of point-of-care diagnostics.