Leeds celebrates collaboration in first innovation festival

Study news

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

The festival’s aim is to help small and medium enterprises build connections across the region and discover the support available to help them develop and build resilient businesses.  

The week-long virtual event is 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, including the University of Leeds.  

It features a range of virtual events, workshops and talks. 

Highlights from the University include an introduction to Space Hub Yorkshire; the effects of artificial intelligence and futuristic technologies on healthcare delivery; innovations in rail research in Leeds’ Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration, and the benefits of collaboration for businesses and universities. 

Further details about events involving the University are detailed below. View the full West Yorkshire Innovation Festival programme here

Innovation Now 

Tuesday 16 March, 2pm-4.30pm. Register online for Innovation Now.

Leeds will team up with other West Yorkshire institutions to lead this event, introducing businesses to the benefits of working with universities. 

Innovation Now will see the Yorkshire Universities (YU) network combine their resources to stage presentations from Leeds University Business School (LUBS) and the University’s innovation hub Nexus, a Q&A session and workshop sessions. Businesses can explore initiatives for collaboration across healthcare, inclusive creative industries, textiles and low carbon heating and cooling. 

Professor Andy Brown, from LUBS, and Dr Harrison Evans, from 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, Dr Evans will talk about current entrepreneurial attitudes, while 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. 

Creating A Culture Where Innovation Can Thrive 

Wednesday March 17, 9am-9.45am. Register online for Creating a Culture Where Innovation Can Thrive.

Liz Mear, Managing Director of Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP) will present this session, aimed at teams and organisations looking to bring in new products or services or encourage staff to think differently. It will encourage attendees to ‘think big, start small and scale fast’ to positively disrupt internal systems to better serve their customers or end users.  

LAHP members include the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds City Council and several Leeds NHS organisations. 

Space Hub Yorkshire 

Wednesday March 17, 2.30pm-4.30pm. Register online for Space Hub Yorkshire.

Space Hub Yorkshire is a UK Space Agency funded initiative led by the University of Leeds and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership to develop Yorkshire's local space industry cluster. 

Dr Anna Hogg from the School of Earth and Environment will welcome guests to the event, which will feature talks on Space Hub Yorkshire’s growth strategy and the wider UK space sector’s development.   

The event will showcase some of the exciting space industry work already going on in Yorkshire and conclude with a roundtable discussion where audience members will have the chance to join the discussion. 

The Future of Innovation: How Will Healthtech and AI affect patient care?  

Thursday 18 March, 4pm-5.30pm. Register online for The Future of Innovation.

This event, from Nexus, 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 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. 

The event is the first in a new series where a line-up of leading experts from across academia, business, government and society will explore and dissect ‘big picture’ topical issues within innovation. 

Building West Yorkshire’s Rail Innovation Eco-System 

Friday March 19, 10am-11am. Register online for Building West Yorkshire's Rail Innovation Eco-System.

The event will outline West Yorkshire’s combined strengths in railway research and innovation and the formation of a new Northern Rail Innovation Network, led by Leeds and the University of Huddersfield. Guests will learn about future priorities and discover potential collaborations with industry.  

Professor Peter Woodward, Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering, will introduce the innovations in rail research taking place at Leeds. 

Building the Blocks for an Innovation Dream Team 

Friday 19 March, 2pm-3pm. Register online for Building the Blocks for an Innovation Dream Team.

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.