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Creating connections – Science, innovation and skills in the North East



Centre for Life


Image credit: dem10

This Creating connections conference will address important issues connected to science and industry in the North East. Through a series of workshops and round-table discussions it will bring together leading scientists and experts from industry, academia, and local government to share their perspectives on supporting R&D in the North East and the region’s role in driving UK innovation and prosperity.

The meeting will consist of six sessions over two days. The workshops on Friday 7 September at the Centre for Life are on the themes of the UK Government's industrial strategy and 2.4% target for R&D investment, education and skills, dynamics of data science, and research culture. All participants will have the opportunity to network during breaks, explore the exhibition space, hear a keynote presentation from Chi Onwurah MP (Newcastle upon Tyne Central; Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy), and learn about the work of the Royal Society.

Further details are included in the agenda below. This event is free to attend by invitation only, if you would like to request an invitation to a session please use the session-specific contact information provided in the agenda below, with a short explanation about your interest. Please note places are limited. For general enquiries please contact the industry team.

Schedule of talks

Newcastle University visit

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Hear from the Royal Society Grants team who will be visiting Newcastle University to provide details of funding opportunities, as well as application advice for early and senior career researchers working in the UK and internationally. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. This opportunity is open to researchers based at Newcastle University, University of Durham, Northumbria University, Teeside University and University of Sunderland.

Timings TBC. For queries about this visit please contact the grants team.


Industry leader's dinner

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The Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science. As part of our work we are engaging with industry to understand the skills gaps in different sectors, listen to experiences of university-business collaboration, and hear views on the UK Government’s industrial strategy and 2.4% target for R&D investment.  

The dinner will bring together business leaders and prominent members of the Royal Society to discuss the scientific and industrial landscape in the North East of England. It will ask how the Society can support industry in the region and discuss topics critical to the successful application of science for societal and economic benefit.

Co-hosted by Professor Peter Bruce FRS, Acting Chair of the Royal Society Science, Industry and Translation Committee, and Professor Brian Foster OBE FRS, Vice President of the Royal Society.

07 September


Coffee and registration


Round table: Education and skills

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Could the support employers provide to schools be increased, and be more effective than at present?

This round table will catalyse discussions on how the collective impact of different types of employer support for schools and colleges could be improved and supported in the North East. The discussion will explore all the activities employers current do, or could engage with, to support STEM.

For further details please contact Kelly Chaplin.


Round table: Industrial strategy and 2.4%

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This round table will focus on the UK Government's industrial strategy and 2.4% target for R&D investment. Further details to follow.

If you are interested in attending this session, please contact Joe Edwards.


Lunch, exhibition, networking and speeches

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Knowledge Transfer Network exhibit


Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), as the network partner of Innovate UK, connects people to accelerate innovation for economic growth and provides specialist support via Knowledge Transfer Advisers to facilitate Partnership development and succeed in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).  

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have been helping UK businesses innovate for growth for over 40 years and are one of a range of funding initiatives made available through InnovateUK and other government co-funders, and delivered by the KTN.  A KTP also provides your business with extraordinary and cost-effective access to the unique resources within the UK’s knowledge base: research expertise, cutting-edge technology and equipment, and solution-oriented initiatives.

Find out more about how a Knowledge Transfer Partnership could unlock innovation in your company by contacting one of our expert Knowledge Transfer Advisors.

Local Knowledge Transfer Advisors John Clayton and Ian Blakemore will be on the KTN stand and representatives of the 5 North East Universities will be present throughout the day.


Royal Society education outreach exhibit


There will be an opportunity to talk to members of the Royal Society Education Outreach team about the Partnership Grants scheme. This is a funding opportunity for schools to work in collaboration with a STEM professional from industry or academia on an extended research project. Schools can apply for up to £3000 for materials and equipment. The aims of the Partnership Grants scheme are:

-To embed experimental science into the curriculum

-To demonstrate that science is interesting and has real world applications

-To support teachers being part of the scientific community

-To develop educational skills of researchers

This scheme funds approximately 40 schools per year, across the UK, from primary to FE colleges to undertake research in the classroom.

Royal Society grants exhibit


The Royal Society offers over 20 grants and fellowships to outstanding researchers across the world. Funding is available in the following areas:

-Early career fellowships

-Senior career fellowships

-Industry and innovation awards

-Research capacity and infrastructure awards

-International collaboration and travel awards and fellowships

Meet with members of the Royal Society Grants team to find out about the various funding opportunities available to you and advice on applying.

Royal Society publishing exhibit


The Royal Society publishes high quality, peer reviewed journals. Nine of our journals cover the full breadth of the biological, physical and cross-disciplinary sciences and Notes and Records is dedicated to the history of science.  We also publish Biographical Memoirs, an annual compilation of individual memoirs, which celebrates the lives and scientific achievements of Fellows of the Royal Society.

Whether you are publishing an individual article or a themed issue, we promise a first-class level of author service, high production values and worldwide dissemination in well-read and highly-cited publications. We would be glad to discuss options for publishing with us.


Dialogue on the Royal Society's model CV template for researchers

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Take part in the development of the Society’s Model CV to better recognise researcher’s activities, and facilitate industry-academia cross-over.

The Society is developing a Model CV template to support recruitment, evaluation and promotion of researchers. The main aim of the Model CV template is to move towards a format that encourages recognition of a researcher’s various activities. The proposed CV further has the potential to facilitate cross-over between academia and other sectors, including industry. 

The Model CV template is part of the Society’s Research Culture programme that has encouraged researchers in the UK to think holistically about the culture they are part of, themes discussed include integrity, diversity, the way research is funded, and broad recognition of researcher’s activities. 

The Creating Connections Newcastle session will be set-up as a consultation around the Society’s Model CV template. Ideally, stakeholders from both academia and industry will get involved to discuss a number of topics. What are their first responses to the Model CV template, both as a potential user and evaluator? Will it recognise a researcher’s range of contributions to research, is it missing anything? Does the Model CV template have the potential to facilitate industry-academia cross-over

To request an invitation to this session, please contact Karen Stroobants or Frances Downey.


Workshop: Dynamics of data science

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The Royal Society’s Dynamics of Data Science project is concerned with the movement of data science expertise between academia, industry and the public sector.

The project is exploring:

- Drivers for the movement of data scientists 

- Demand changes over time and across sectors

- Challenges across sectors around skills needs

- Models for upskilling, retaining and sharing data science talent

The project, led by a working group and chaired by Professor Andrew Blake FRS, former director at the Alan Turing Institute, builds on findings from a joint Royal Society conference on the skills gap in data analytics in the UK held in 2016 in partnership with the Royal Statistical Society. We found that to meet the potential that data science brings it will be necessary to develop a skilled data science workforce

This workshop will explore some of the emerging findings from the Dynamics of Data Science project and highlight a number of case studies of talent sharing from the North East of England.

Please contact Jennifer Panting to request an invitation.


Afternoon tea, exhibition and networking