Creating connections in Scotland 2023

06 - 07 June 2023 09:00 - 17:30 Online Free
Creating Connections

The Royal Society is working in partnership with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy, to deliver Creating connections in Scotland 2023 – a two-day conference focusing on Scottish research and innovation. This event will bring together experts from academia, industry and government to address scientific and technical opportunities and challenges in Scotland.

Across two days, this event will feature workshops and roundtable discussions on diverse topics including policy, innovation and education. This event will also feature a lunchtime address and various networking opportunities which will bring together delegates from across the conference.

A detailed schedule of the sessions will soon be confirmed.

Attending this event

This event will be free to attend by invitation. Please see the respective sessions below for more information on attending.


09:30-11:00 Assistive digital technologies: Addressing disability through inclusive design

The Royal Society is investigating how data and data-driven technologies can contribute to the lives of people with disabilities and functional limitations. Over one billion people live with a disability, and most people will experience a temporary or gradual decline in ability throughout their lives. Data and data-driven technologies (from enhanced voice recognition technology to robotic ‘care-bots’) offer novel solutions to these challenges. However, disabilities are near-unique conditions, making solutions difficult to generalise and scale. Further, the global nature of technological innovations requires an inclusive approach to avoid widening the accessibility gap. This session will elucidate the technological, methodological and socioeconomic barriers for the science of assistive technologies—for example, understanding the potential of data (such as new uses of AI and ‘small data’), identifying market issues and research challenges in ‘intelligent assistive technology’. The session will inform the Society’s work in this space through identifying ways to overcome these barriers and maximise the use of assistive technologies for the benefit of humanity.

09:30-13:00 Bringing together the UK Young Academy and the Young Academy of Scotland

This event will allow members of the Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) to showcase examples of work and projects they have initiated, the challenges they have faced and the lessons they have learned in the process. It will also provide a chance for members of the UK Young Academy to talk with their YAS counterparts about ways in which the two organisations could collaborate or support one another in initiatives relating to Scotland.

11:30-13:00 Skills for research and innovation in Scotland

This session will reflect on research and innovation in Scotland, with a particular focus on skills development to support and enable Scotland to achieve its ambition as a place where innovation is an intrinsic part of its culture, society, and economy. Innovation has been a key priority in Scottish policymaking since devolution. The Scottish Government’s Innovation Strategy is expected to support the national aspirations for achieving economic development, a just transition, and net-zero, while supporting the well-being of people. Research and development represents an essential component of the innovation ecosystem and this session will bring together a wide range of stakeholders (eg college and academic representatives, funders, industry representatives, and other third sector parties) to reflect on the changes needed to fully realise Scotland’s research and innovation potential in a national, UK-wide, and international context.

14:15-21:00 Industry College and Enterprise Fellow networking event

This is a joint networking session for members of the Royal Society Industry College network and Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellows. There will be presentations from past and present award holders based in Scotland, before the group is split into breakout groups. Discussion topics will focus on a range of subjects relevant to industry scientists and entrepreneurs working in Scotland.

14:30-16:30 New ways of working - towards a more robust and resilient system of international scientific collaboration

The many benefits of international scientific collaboration (including the higher quality of internationally collaborative science as measured by citations and other bibliometric data), the efficiency of pooling shared resources into infrastructure such as CERN, and the necessity of working together to tackle critical global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss are generally well understood and supported by policy-makers. International scientific collaboration has also been a rare source of positive and inspiring news in troubled times. At a time when UK and international politics have become increasingly polarised, the discoveries of the James Webb Telescope, DeepMind's ability to predict protein structures from amino acid sequences, and the invention and rapid deployment of the covid-19 vaccine have captured public imagination, enabled new insights into some of the deepest questions and helped address some of the most pressing problems facing humanity. The covid-19 pandemic, and the measures taken to address it, have also driven new and innovative ways of working, including the widespread adoption of new technologies and practices, which have in some cases made collaboration easier and more inclusive.

Yet, despite these obvious benefits, including its potential to support economic development and capacity strengthening, international collaboration has been hampered or threatened by many recent geopolitical developments, including a long period of uncertainty over Horizon Europe resulting from Brexit, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and interference in research security by authoritarian states. How can an even more resilient and robust system of international research and collaboration be forged which can withstand these and future challenges and ensure that the benefits of such collaboration continue to be delivered, and can be shared in an equitable way.

17:30-19:30 Science and the law


17:30-19:30 Science and the Law evening discussion

This event forms part of the Science and the Law programme on which the two Royal Societies collaborate. The programme brings together scientists and members of the judiciary to discuss and debate key areas of common interest and to ensure that the best scientific guidance is available to the courts.

This particular event will provide an overview of the series of Primers for Courts, which are designed to assist the judiciary when handling scientific evidence. It will also offer the opportunity to explore possibilities for future collaborative engagement between the judiciary and the scientific community within Scotland. 

The session will run from 6–7pm at the RSE, with some drinks and canapés served from 5.30pm. Talks from Lady Dorrian, Lord Justice Clerk, and Professor Niamh Nic Daéid, Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science will be followed by a discussion chaired by Dame Anne Rafferty, former Lady Justice of Appeal.

09:30-12:45 Public and societal engagement in Scottish universities

The Royal Society, in partnership with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, is hosting a morning of discussion and reflection on public engagement as a pathway to impact in the Research Excellence Framework as well as broader aspects of recognition of public engagement by Scottish Higher Education Institutions, funders and learned societies. This session is for senior academic and professional services leads for public engagement and others interested in the topic.

To receive an invite, please email the Public Engagement team.

09:30-11:00 The future of Open Science

The Open Science movement has been evolving rapidly in recent years, and the Royal Society has been a driving force in its development and wider adoption. However, the movement remains ambiguous to many researchers and scientists, and there is a need for a greater understanding around its principles. Join members of the Royal Society’s publishing team for a discussion on the Open Science initiatives, its associated successes and challenges, and the future opportunities. We will also consider the moves the Royal Society are making to continue our transition to a more open future for scientific publishing.

09:45-10:45 An overview of grant funding opportunities from the Royal Society

Members of the Royal Society Grants team will be speaking about their current funding opportunities available to UK-based and international researchers from postdoctoral fellowships to senior professorships. The team will provide advice on developing competitive grant applications and answer questions from the audience about all aspects of applying for funding.

The speakers will be joined by a current Royal Society Early Career Research Fellow and Royal Society Industry Fellow, who will give their views on applying for and holding grant funding from the Royal Society.

To request an invitation to this session, please contact the Industry team.

10:00-12:00 Effects of net-zero policies and climate change on air quality in Scotland

Climate change and net zero policies are both expected to affect future air quality. The Royal Society ‘Effects of net zero policies and climate change on air quality’ report outlines these effects and provides scientific evidence to aid the creation of policy which addresses both climate change and air quality together.

This working lunch will bring together scientific experts, industry leaders and policymakers working in areas key to Scotland’s net zero and air quality efforts. The aim will be to discuss the opportunities and challenges for Scotland in attaining co-benefits between climate and air quality goals and where future policy could maximise these benefits.

Please note, this event is by invitation only.

11:15-16:00 Ocean science in policy and industry

As we step into the Anthropocene, our ocean and marine systems are undergoing profound changes, ranging from biodiversity loss to potentially catastrophic slowdowns of ocean circulation patterns. Now more than ever, science must be incorporated into policy and business decision making across the value chain to help ensure decisions are underpinned by a robust scientific evidence base.

This event will bring together early-career researchers (ECRs) in ocean and marine science, policy makers and industry professionals to discuss how science can be better used to inform policy and business decisions in Scotland. How can policy and industry professionals effectively source and incorporate the latest scientific evidence when they need it? More fundamentally, what constitutes a decision in which science can play a useful role, and how can we identify when science may be helpful? 

Attendees will take part in roundtable discussions, contributing ideas towards understanding the barriers which limit science from providing a robust evidence base for business activities and marine policies, the mechanisms ECRs can use to effectively apply their research in the industrial and policy-making context, and for policy attendees to understand how to maximise access to cutting-edge science.

This event will be free to attend by invitation and is open to ECRs in ocean and marine science (loosely, up to ten years post-PhD), and representatives from industry and government. 

To request an invitation, please contact the Resilient Futures team.

14:00-16:00 Networking reception for Research Fellows

This is session is exclusively for local research fellows at the Royal Society.

The eligible Royal Society fellowships are as follows:

  • Dorothy Hodgkin
  • Daphne Jackson Trust
  • Newton International Fellowship
  • Sir Henry Dale
  • University Research Fellowship (including renewals)

Further details will follow nearer the time.

Please contact the Research Fellow Engagement team for more information.

18:30-22:00 Industry leaders' dinner, Aberdeen

The dinner will bring together business leaders and senior representatives of the Royal Society to discuss the scientific and industrial landscape in the North East of Scotland, focusing on topics critical to the successful application of science for societal and economic benefit such as the investment landscape, the skills pipeline and academic collaborations.