Showcase for innovation

The Iain Gray Column

The chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board explains the aims and themes of this year’s Innovate and Techworld events, which will take place next week.

Last month I spoke about some of our Technology Strategy Board programmes and how they reflect the Eight Great Technologies. In my blog I mentioned some of the companies, organisations and institutions we support and partner to help achieve technological breakthroughs and innovation in the UK.

But in 500 or so words I can’t describe many, or give you a comprehensive picture of the multitude of projects, programmes and collaborations we support. However…there is a place where I can do this.

Innovate UK starts on Monday (11 March) and is our flagship exhibition and networking event. Across the three days we have more than 200 speakers from across academia, government and business – nearly 300 hundred exhibitors and are expecting more than 3000 visitors, with many more joining the web-streaming.

This is the first time that we have partnered with UK Trade and Investment for this event, and this joint Techworld and Innovate event will be an unapologetic show of force for British Innovation.

The three days have distinct themes:

Day one is ‘Research for growth – Commercialising the UK’s Research Base’, where you will hear how business growth is catalysed by the UK research base in academia, business, and the wider ‘innovation ecosystem’ including protection for intellectual property, standards development, access to funding, and the world’s most open research environment. This first day will illustrate how collaboration with the UK’s research base can kick-start business growth through access to new knowledge, people and infrastructure, and helps give the UK its pulling power as the No. 1 destination in Europe for global investment.

On day two our exhaustive seminar programme combines with a packed exhibition floor, showcasing market opportunities and transformative technologies in our priority areas of Agrifood, future cities, digital services, energy, health, high value manufacturing, transport, and space, . These complement the day’s itinerary of key notes, seminars and workshops, as well as every opportunity to take part in UK and international multi-sector networking.

And lastly on day three we concentrate on early stage and growing businesses – those that are born global and new exporters. Here we will be encouraging links with mentors, the match making of capital with commercial ideas and the sharing of hands-on business insight into how to crack distinct target markets.

We are bringing together leading entrepreneurs, investors and support organisations all under one roof. If you cannot join us though, but would like a flavour of what’s being said, we will be both webcasting and live tweeting certain speeches and seminars.

If you haven’t already, follow @innovateuk and #innovateuk, and you can participate in the webcasts at

In the happy event, however, that you will be joining us…I hope to see you there.