The Summit 2019

Collaboration in an uncertain world
The role of science and innovation in addressing complex challenges

On Wednesday 27 November 2019, we brought together 300 business leaders, scientists, policy-makers and opinion-formers at the Royal Institution.

Rapidly evolving social, environmental and economic conditions – underpinned by technological and scientific innovation – are disrupting and reshaping every aspect of society. As the world becomes ever increasingly interconnected, the event looked at how we understand the complex impacts of science and technology.

2019 saw ‘climate emergencies’ declared in countries across the world, as the risks of inaction became impossible to ignore. Societies have questioned the neutrality of technology, as calls for tighter regulation have reverberated around the globe. Against this backdrop, the programme explored how you can build trusted and sustainable ways of working across sectors and nations, and asked how citizens, organisations and nations can challenge ‘business as usual’ to help shape the future.

AGENDA

Please click here to view the 2019 programme (including the list of attendees).

For many years scientific reports have indicated that systemic change on a global scale is needed to avoid climate breakdown. While targeted attempts to reduce the impacts of climate change around electric vehicles and solar panels have caught public and media attention, international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol have compelled leaders to mitigate the systemic climate change risks facing the planet.

What is the role for UK business and government in using its global reach to make a significant impact?

Chaired by Samira Ahmed with Dr Tamsin Edwards, Kamal Ahmed, Richard Kirkman and Baroness Bryony Worthington

Delegates will take part in roundtable discussions over lunch.

Part A: Collaborating in a world not designed for you

What are the barriers for collaboration across organisations, sectors and nations on complex issues? How can we enable successful collaboration by overcoming some of the biases facing underrepresented groups across business, policy, science and the media?

Chaired by Sayeh Ghanbari with Dame Inga Beale and Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Part B: Who should lead the way on technology regulation?

Technologies such as 5G, AI, and cryptocurrency are continuing to advance at an astonishing speed and public trust in social media companies is falling almost as quickly (Edelman Trust Barometer 2018). This pace of change is redefining the status quo for science, businesses, and policy makers. Tech-driven change is happening so rapidly, and in so many different sectors, that the risks of unintended consequences and public backlashes are higher than ever before – and efforts to regulate the uses of technology and data have produced both successes and challenges.

How can leaders on technology regulation respond to the diverse needs and behaviours of society?

Chaired by Samira Ahmed with Daniel Dyball, Priya Guha, Frederike Kaltheuner and Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones

Science, technology and innovation have helped create and solve some of our world’s biggest challenges, and have driven partnerships between nations, sectors and organisations.

What are the collaborations and innovations that will respond to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and shape a healthier, fairer future?

Interview with Samira Ahmed and Mathieu Flamini; followed by a discussion chaired by Lord David Willetts with Baroness Rosie Boycott, Veera Johnson, Professor Faith Osier and Pierre Paslier

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For Thought (formerly the Huxley Summit) provides a platform for a diverse range of speakers and attendees to debate cross-cutting themes such as pandemics, climate change and cyber-security.
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