Packed programme celebrates innovation

Innovation and collaboration take centre stage in a packed programme of activities as part of the inaugural West Yorkshire Innovation Festival this month.

Sign up for a week of virtual events, workshops and talks celebrating innovation across the region

Inaugural West Yorkshire Innovation Festival. March 2021

Colleagues are encouraged to sign up and join fellow academics, businesses and innovators for a week of virtual events, workshops and talks starting on Monday 15 March.

Co-ordinated by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and curated by partner organisations through the West Yorkshire Innovation Network, the festival aims to profile and encourage innovation-led activity, whilst showcasing the support and collaboration opportunities available to a wide range of stakeholder groups across the region.

View the full festival programme, highlights of which are outlined below:

Business and universities working together

On Tuesday 16 March, the Yorkshire Universities (YU) network combine their resources to stage Innovation Now: opportunities for business and universities to work together. Bringing together expertise and opportunities from the 12 universities in West Yorkshire, the session will explore how strong relationships and interaction between universities and business can bolster innovation and benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Post-pandemic economic recovery

During the plenary session, Professor Andy Brown, from Leeds University Business School (LUBS), and Harrison Evans, from the University’s innovation hub Nexus, join fellow YU representatives to discuss the current state of play for businesses in the region, as we move towards post-pandemic economic recovery.

As part of the discussion, Harrison will talk about current entrepreneurial attitudes, whilst Professor Brown will share insights from his work around Place Based Economic Recovery (PERN) and the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Framework.

Leeds academics will also lead a business-facing breakout session exploring opportunities for collaboration and innovation within the decarbonisation of heating and cooling.

The Future of Innovation

As part of the festival, Thursday 18 March sees the launch of a new event series – The Future of Innovation – where Nexus will welcome a line-up of leading experts from across academia, business, government and society to explore and dissect ‘big picture’ topical issues within innovation.

The first event in the series explores the potential effects futuristic technologies may have on patient care and how this might alter current and future healthcare landscapes. With the rapid acceleration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation in the use of technology throughout health services, the event endeavours to answer the question How will the future of HealthTech and AI affect patient care?

The panel welcomes a number of University colleagues, including Professor Alex Frangi, Director, Centre for Responsive HealthTech Innovation, and Gabriela Arriagada Bruneau, Postgraduate Researcher in AI and Data Ethics at Leeds. They’ll be joined by senior figures from the NHS, including David Brettle, Chief Scientific Officer for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Dom Cushnan, Head of AI Imaging at NHS X, alongside Nexus member Nikhil Seghal, Co-Founder of Vastmindz, which delivers AI-powered telehealth solutions.

Back to basics

Rounding off the week, Nexus and LUBS are joining forces with medical technologies consortium Grow MedTech to bring innovation ‘back to basics’ with Building the blocks for an innovation dream team. Exploring and sharing insights around co-design and innovation stakeholder management, the session will encourage businesses to embed principles of ‘innovation-led’ thinking within the heart of their organisations and teams.

Contact the Nexus Events team for further information about the festival or to get involved in the Future of Innovation series.

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