Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) visited the University of Liverpool this week to discuss UK research priorities as well as visit areas of campus.

On 1 April, UKRI took on responsibility for the public funding of research and innovation, with the goal of creating an environment that supports institutions like ours in maximising the domestic and global impact of UK research and innovation activity.

After meeting Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Janet Beer, Sir Mark Walport spoke at the University’s Leadership Forum to discuss UKRI’s early priorities with senior leaders. These included: the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; innovation and commercialisation; international collaboration; regional innovation; and supporting social impact (including through public engagement with research).

Sir Mark was then given a tour of the University’s Materials Innovation Factory to learn about the University’s world-leading research in advanced materials. This included a tour of the Unilever labs, Royce Institute labs and robotics facility.

Sir Mark Walport (Centre) views the robotics facility at the Materials Innovation Factory.

The UKRI Chief Executive also visited the Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases Research (CEIDR)  – a strategic partnership between the University and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM).

Sir Mark Walport said: “I would like to thank the Vice-Chancellor and University of Liverpool colleagues for hosting me on Tuesday. It was a pleasure to speak to the Leadership Forum about UK Research and Innovation and tour the campus to see the exceptional research taking place.

The Materials Innovation Factory is a world-class facility, bringing together Liverpool’s strength in materials chemistry with computer science and highlighting the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration in the discovery of new materials. Infection research at Liverpool is excellent and I was delighted to hear more about the partnership with LSTM through CEIDR, this collaboration will be vital to the development of therapeutic agents and strategies to minimise the impact of resistance on human health.

The work the university is doing to successfully collaborate with business will ensure that this exceptional research is translated into the marketplace, where it will have the greatest impact.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Impact, Professor Anthony Hollander said: “This was the first visit to a University by Sir Mark following the official start of UKRI on 1st April and it gave us an early and fascinating insight into his plans and priorities. It was also a chance for us to showcase for him some of our exciting and innovative research programmes.”

For more information about UKRI please visit: https://www.ukri.org/