The Summit 2018

Shifting perceptions?
The challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

On November 2018 we brought together 300 business leaders, scientists, policy-makers and opinion-formers at the Royal Institution.

2018 saw new technologies like AI and gene-editing promising to change the world for the better as well as a shift in public perceptions in the UK about the impact of single use plastics on the environment. The 2018 programme looked at how businesses, policymakers and scientists can ensure products of innovation are fit for purpose as societal, environmental and cultural expectations change and shift.

Download the full programme

At the half-time review, we looked ahead to the 2018 event. Watch all the videos on the British Science Association’s YouTube channel.



Drowning in plastic

Biochemist, wild animal biologist and presenter, Liz Bonnin, spoke to Samira Ahmed about her BBC Documentary, Drowning in Plastic. She talks about the making of the documentary and discusses the scale of the plastic problem, as well as what can be done about it.

Does trust matter?

To what extent does trust change consumer attitudes and behaviour? Ben Taylor (Assurance Technology Partner, EY) presented EY research looking at global trust towards plastics and artificial intelligence, particularly autonomous vehicles. How do corporates respond to this and how much do shifts in public perception drive innovation and change in the supply chain?

We need a code of ethics for AI

Jo Swinson, MP for East Dumbartonshire and Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader poses the idea that we need to implement a code of ethics for those programming artificial intelligence software.

How to ensure AI is ethical and unbiased

Kriti Sharma, Vice President for Artificial Intelligence, Sage, suggests we can create machines that are ethical, unbiased, and a reflection of society by doing three things. The first is creating technology that actually benefits society, the second is diversifying the group of people in the AI community and the third is to ensure that data or AI ethics are not left to the developers.


The British Science Association would like to thank all our sponsors and partners for their support of the Huxley Summit 2018.

Headline Sponsor

EY_Logo EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economics the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. For more information about our organisation, please visit

Major Partners


Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol, and our outstanding collection of brands are enjoyed in more than 180 countries around the world. We own 20 of the world’s top 100 spirits brands among which Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, J&B, Buchanan’s, Cîroc, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Baileys. We are a business built and sustained through innovation, and developing new ideas is crucial to our growth strategy. We aim to create a positive role for alcohol in society by reducing harmful drinking, building thriving communities and continuously reducing our environmental impact.

Genomics-England-logo Genomics England is a company set up and owned by the UK Department of Health to run the 100,000 Genomes Project, which aims to sequence 100,000 genomes from NHS patients. This flagship project will sequence 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients with rare diseases, and their families, as well as patients with common cancers.

RSC_LOGO_CMYK_FINAL The Royal Society of Chemistry works to shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity. With over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists; supporting and representing our members and bringing together scientists from all over the world. As a not-for-profit organisation with more than 175 years of heritage and an ambitious international vision for the future, we promote, support and celebrate chemistry.


IOP Stacked web The Institute of Physics is the professional body and learned society for physics in the UK and Ireland, inspiring people to develop their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of physics. We work with a range of partners to support and develop the teaching of physics in schools; we encourage innovation, growth and productivity in business; and we provide evidence-based advice to governments across the UK and in Ireland.

Partner and host

Ri logo   The Royal Institution’s (Ri) vision is for a world where everyone is inspired to think more deeply about science and its place in our lives. An independent registered charity, the Ri provides science education, public engagement, and heritage activities for people of all ages and backgrounds, creating opportunities for everyone to discover, discuss and critically examine science and how it shapes the world around us. For more information please visit

Media partner

i-logo_croppedi launched as Britain’s first and only concise quality news brand in 2010, introducing a trusted, impartial voice to the market. i is the UK’s first and only concise quality national newspaper bringing readers an intelligent daily briefing. To find out more, please visit:

With thanks

wellcome-logo-white with black text Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations, and spark debate.

Print The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is a UK charity established in 2012. With our mission to protect the safety of life and property, and to advance transport and engineering education and research, the Foundation has an important role to play in meeting the challenges of today and the future.