Events Roundup: May 2021 | IPT

In May 2021 we held four virtual events covering topics from artificial intelligence and the potential of trade and exports. Once again, we were fortunate to have some high profile speakers including Ian Howells from Honda and John Carroll from Santander as well as Bill Esterson MP , Shadow Minister for International Trade as chair.

Supercharging the Race to Electric Vehicles

On Monday 10 May, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Supercharging the Race to Electric Vehicles.’ The discussion was chaired by Matt Western MP, Chair, Electric Vehicles APPG and welcomed guest speakers Ian Howells, Senior Vice-President, Honda, Randolph Brazier, Director of Innovation and Electricity Systems, Energy Networks Association and Dr Brian Price, Aston Institute of Urban Technology and Environment, Aston University. The discussion focused on how the UK can maintain its longstanding position in the global car market while meeting its 2030 deadline and delivering an effective electric vehicle rollout.

Key discussion points:

  • The importance of creating sustainable incentives for consumers to purchase electric vehicles 
  • Highlighted the issues around curb side charging and how many consumers have restricted access to easy charging solutions, particularly in inner-city and built-up areas. 
  • Discussed the role of flexibility and smart grids, reconfiguration of grids, but also strategic investment in grids. Currently, networks are highly localised, therefore different areas will require different grid solutions for EV’s. 
  • The issue of consumer confidence within EV’s over petrol and diesel cars. For many, price and accessibility to charging points are a common draw back. Lack of drive in the second hand EV’s market is also a common issue. 

Appetite for Action: Reducing Obesity
On Wednesday 12 May, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Appetite for Action: Reducing Obesity.’ The discussion was chaired by Daniel Zeichner MP, Shadow Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries and welcomed guest speakers Zoe Ellis, Head of Medical Affairs, Danone and Dr Birgitta Rabe, Reader in Economics, University of Essex. The discussion focused on how the UK can combat its rising levels of obesity and empower adults and children to live healthier lives.

Key discussion points:

  • The importance in recognising the links between mental health, as poor mental health is intrinsic with poor eating habits. There are significant mental health concerns that can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.  
  • Discussion as to whether the Governments massage of less calories equal weight loss. This message can be problematic and not always true but used because of the simple message.  
  • Highlighted the issue of childhood obesity and how, for many children, the issue starts at home with highly calorific foods and obesity within the family.  
  • The importance of creating longer term solutions, overweight and obesity is a long-term chronic health condition, but we continually provide short, acute solutions.

Boosting UK Trade and Exports Post-Brexit

On Monday 17 May, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Boosting UK Trade and Exports Post-Brexit.’ The discussion was chaired by Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Minister for International Trade and welcomed guest speakers Marco Forgione, Director-General, Institute of Exports & International Trade and John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander. The discussion focused on how the Government can support UK businesses in expanding trading relationships.

Key discussion points:

  • The EU is still the UK’s biggest market and remain important for future trade. However, they should no longer be viewed as the only accessible marketplace as trading globally should be encouraged for all UK businesses
  • Digitalisation of trade is vital to moving forward. Catalysed by the need to adapt during coronavirus restrictions; digital signatures, digital solutions for letters of credit and other procedures have enabled international trading companies to perform better and increase growth
  • SMEs are often successful in initiating and engaging with organisations abroad but often face barriers in the UK. There is appetite for the creation of a cross-government committee focused on all departments and united on delivering agreements to facilitate trade. 

Roadmap for the Future: The UK's AI Strategy
 

On Tuesday 18 May, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Roadmap for the Future: The UK's AI Strategy.’ The discussion was chaired by Katherine Fletcher MP, Science and Technology Select Committee and welcomed guest speakers Matt Lewis, Research Director, NCC Group, Professor Ashley Braganaza, Deputy Dean, College of Arts, Business and Social Sciences and Director, Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Brunel University and Professor Rab Scott, Head of Digital, University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. The discussion focused on how the UK can cement its place on the world stage as a leader in AI.

Key discussion points:

  • The importance of Investment for technology in AI is insufficient. AI adoption requires a change in culture, strategy and internal infrastructure. 
  • The issue of 'Technological sovereignty' creates barriers for development and advancement in tech as countries hide their developments from other nations. There is opportunity for global leadership.  
  • How developing skills in the UK is an important aspect within AI industry development. The UK needs to build relationships internationally to foster a sharing culture, within industry and academia.