15th May 2015, The Atrium, University of South Wales Cardiff
Minutes Present: Ian Menzies (IM) (joint chair)
Adam Price (AP) (joint chair)
Helen Swygart (HS)
Kellie Beirne (KB)
Robin Williams (RW)
Brian McCarthy (BM)
David Notley (DN)
Martin Rhisiart (MR)
Sue Bale (SB)
Andy Middleton (AM)
Apologies: Jessica Jones (JJ)
Steve Smith (SS)
Secretariat: Alastair Davies (AD)
David Rosser (DR)
Philippa Costello (PC)
Guest Speakers: Professor Khalid Al-Begain(KA-B) (University of South Wales)
Professor Rick Delbridge (RD) (Cardiff University)
Simon Brindle (SBR) (Welsh Government)
IM welcomed council members to the 3rd IACW meeting. Minutes from the previous meeting were agreed. Council members present were asked to indicate any direct or indirect conflicts of interest in the proposed agenda items - no interests were recorded. IM introduced the proceedings of the day, focusing on the theme of public sector/ public services innovation.
DR provided an overview of the activities of the WG Innovation Department, including the 3 new EU innovation funding programmes. The current A4B scheme will be replaced with a programme called SMART Expertise which will concentrate on collaborative research and is awaiting WEFO approval. SMART Innovation, the innovation advice, support and guidance programme has been approved and is in operation. The 3rdprogramme, SMART Cymru, focusing on R&D grants and Innovation vouchers is also awaiting approval. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) program is ongoing and open to small and large companies.
AD to update the WG RD&I support chart aligning the new EU Innovation programs with the TRL levels.
MR suggested IACW make a case to boost the sample number of Welsh companies targeted in the 2016 BIS survey in order to gain a better understanding of in the key sectors in Wales.
Meeting the Minister
IM and AP updated the Minister on the work of the IACW. The current and future state of innovation in Wales was highlighted along with progress to date, the four work plan areas, key activities, areas of work which the council has had input in to or has led, and some recommendations.
It was suggested WEFO should formally respond to IACW to indicate how they’ve taken IACWs advice on the potential EU projects which had recently been reviewed.
One of the recommendations was the creation of an Innovation Body for Wales which was felt is a concept that has some merit which needs exploring. It is believed Innovation Bodies have a positive impact in other EU regions. It was therefore proposed a scoping study be undertaken to decide if it would be worthwhile for Wales.
The Minister highlighted the fact that the procurement of innovation could be a big opportunity for Wales.
BMc updated the Minister on the proposals for possible future Catapults submitted by WG and the IACW which had been very well received by Innovate UK. One area had been added to the shortlist. DR to contact Innovate UK to arrange meeting to discuss next steps.
Innovation Body Comments/Actions
The Minister requested some research be undertaken highlighting what an innovation body’s function would be and what the different models are that could work for Wales.
AM agreed to lead a sub-group looking at the Innovation Body.
BMc commented that any Innovation Body would need to sit alongside/align with Innovate UK on a UK basis and which wouldn’t duplicate the work of Innovate UK.
A suggestion was made about testing the concept of an Innovation Body with stakeholders to gauge their opinions. However, there is a need to understand what already exists, what are the functions, processes, governance and what problem will the body solve.
Various options were discussed ranging from commissioning research to holding a workshop.
BMc suggested Scotland had looked into setting up an Innovation Body, but had decided against it. DR and AD to approach and have discussion with Scotland to ascertain the reason behind their decision.
AP mentioned Nesta are currently researching national innovation agencies in Europe. AP to speak to Alex Gleney/Nesta for their views on developing an Innovation Body, the different models that exist and what would be the best fit for Wales.
The Minister requested that IACW present her with a series of options once further work had been performed.
Professor KA-B provided an update to the council on the Centre of Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services and outlined plans for a future project.
AP, SBR and RD updated the council on the work of the Public Service Innovation Lab - trialling and testing new ideas and adopting solutions that work. Plenty of good ideas exist in Wales, but the adoption of ideas within the public sector is more problematic.
The Lab is not just about the physical space but about the way in which people can come together in new, creative and innovative ways of approaching problems.
South East Wales Academic Health Science Partnership
SB provided an update on the SEWAHSP to the council. It is solely focussed on the patient and is a collaboration between academia, industry and the NHS, consisting of 3 universities and 6 NHS organisations in South East Wales, working across health and business sectors.
Health tech challenge – uploading ideas to a Platform which can be developed and taken forward. However, people want to be able to find innovative solutions to their problems rather than just looking at ideas.
Public Sector Theme
A discussion on public sector was held which appeared to echo many of the themes from the sub group, including adoption and scaling of successful innovations; knowledge diffusion; Innovation culture; role of the public sector and procurement of innovation.
Need a system to ascertain what exists in this sector and highlight examples of people working together making things happen.
Wales could have a focus on the early adoption of new innovations, aiming to help companies in Wales sell their products into other markets.
Any Other Business
Date of the next IACW meeting will be 4th September, venue TBC.
Input for the September meeting will focus on the business cases/framework for each challenge theme, including the key actions to take forward. The meeting could also focus on options for the Innovation Body.
Schedule a meeting with the Minister for early October to discuss the various options of what the Innovation Body could look like.
IM suggested the need to start communicating and promoting IACW, what it is focusing on, the work streams etc. Please let PC know which networks/communities/groups are being informed/updated.
Update the presentation that was used to inform the Minister about IACW so it can be used to update networks about IACW activity.
PC to send link to IACW webpage on WG website which contains previous minutes and agenda.
Upload Infographic and presentations to IACW webpage.
DR to make statement on IACW webpage highlighting what IACW has achieved in its first 6 months.