UKSPA Chairman Dr Glenn Crocker MBE on why the innovation network has never been more important…

In my first contribution to Breakthrough, following my appointment as UKSPA chairman, I wrote in the last issue about the need for UKSPA to remain relevant in the face of the challenges and opportunities as the science and innovation sector changes.

At that time, I was referring to issues such as the trend towards aggregation of science park ownership, significant staff movements amongst our members as well as Brexit and continued political uncertainty.  All will certainly continue to have an impact on our members.

However these issues have been overtaken by the spread of Coronavirus and this alone will have an unprecedented additional challenge for the science and innovation sector.

Such is the pace of change,  that all I can do is to hope that you remain safe and healthy and to ask you to support UKSPA as we attempt to promote the vital role that the you are all playing in combatting the virus, protecting our colleagues and tenants from the economic efforts of the pandemic as well as stressing to Government the unique role that our members play and the need for greater financial support for our members.

So, do continue to visit our new website (launched in late March) for further information on the impact of coronavirus. This is also a forum for us to support each other by providing information and ideas to help cope with the impact of the lockdown.

Despite the challenges, we also need to look to the future and the refreshed website is just one step towards our continuous improvement programme at UKSPA. 

Our recent conference at Leeds Nexus also contributed to this greater focus on “ideas” and national issues. In this issue of our magazine you will find articles from a number of those who contributed really insightful contributions to the Leeds event including Alissa Dhaliwal, Head of Innovation at CBI and Helen Wollatson, CEO of WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) who we certainly will be engaging with as the Association moves forward.

The recent UKSPA membership survey saw an exceptionally high response with real enthusiasm from members to support increasing activity to increase UKSPA’s research and policy activities to run alongside an enhanced event programme and improved digital communications.

The survey closed in late March and we will analyse and take forward the very positive feedback that we received from an unexpectedly high response rate from members over future weeks and months.

So, despite the serious challenges we are all facing I do hope that you will remain connected and share your experiences and successes so we can all support each other. Never has our network been more important.