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Vanguard Initiative Regional Conference


Cost: Free

The Vanguard Initiative brings together over 30 European regions who are committed to inter-regional collaboration, focused through their Smart Specialisation strategies.  In order to support better connections between regional stakeholders and policy-makers the Vanguard Initiative has decided to organise four regional conferences during 2020.  Wales and Randstad (represented by Province of Zuid-Holland) will be co-organising the first of these regional conferences, to be held in Cardiff on 25th – 26th March. The main goals of the conference are:

  • To increase the profile and awareness of the Vanguard Initiative in its member regions, and other regions who want to find out more about the Vanguard Initiative, building on the existing high level of activity and awareness at EU level.
  • Focus on how Vanguard member regions could collaborate to align their smart specialisation (S3) strategies.
  • Further develop and strengthen relations between policy makers, industry and research centres in the home base of the Vanguard regions.
  • Highlight innovation infrastructure, policy and delivery in Wales and Randstad, including field visits to key innovation assets in Wales

This event is open to all Vanguard Initiative member regions.  We also welcome participation from policy makers and stakeholders across Europe, including representatives from companies, clusters and academia involved in innovation, research and smart specialisation. 

A networking event is also being arranged for all participants on the evening of the 25th March.


Wednesday 25 March 2020 - Cardiff Castle

18:00 - 20:00 – Networking reception for conference delegates

Thursday 26 March 2020 - Principality Stadium

Conference Agenda - Speakers to be confirmed soon

08:45 - 09:30Registration and coffee / networking 
09:30 - 09:40 Introduction, scene-setting and ModerationChris Meadows, Head of Open Innovation IQE plc and Director, CSconnected
09:40 - 09:55Welcome remarks: Innovation, Internationalisation and CollaborationKirsty Williams AM, Minister for Education, Welsh Government
09:55 - 10:20Introduction to Vanguard Initiative 

Eleanor Vaughan, Head of Economic Development Policy, Welsh Government EU Office; Chair of Vanguard Initiative

Robert Elias, Director, Bangor University BioComposites Centre

10:20 - 10:35Innovation Priorities and Delivery in Noord-Holland Jack van der Hoek, Regional Minister Noord-Holland
10:35 - 11:00 Coffee break & networking  
11:00 - 11:55Assessing research innovation strengths and complementarities: Models in Wales and Zuid-Holland 

Professor Peter Halligan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales

Dr Stacy Jones, Technical Appraisal Manager, Welsh Government

Speaker from Ranstad to be confirmed.

11:55 - 12:45Planning Successful Inter-Regional Co-operations: Discussion session

Martin Luxemburg, Managing Director, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship 

Julie Cunnington-Hill, SMART Expertise Senior Operations Manager, Welsh Government 

12:45 - 13:00Closing remarks: A place-based approach to EU Industrial PolicyJeannette Balijeu, Regional Minister, Province of Zuid-Holland
13:00 - 13:15Conclusions, thanks and wrap-upChris Meadows, Head of Open Innovation IQE plc and Director, CSconnected 
13:15 - 14:00Networking Lunch 
14:00 - 14:30Transportation to Compound SemiConductor Foundry  
14:30 - 16:30Visit, Q&A 
16:30 - 17:15Return to central Cardiff  


Visit to Compound Semiconductor Cluster

Virtually all of the world's smart phones contain compound semiconductors grown by a Welsh company. Compound semiconductor chips do the clever things that silicon can’t - enabling facial recognition, 5G communications, advanced sensors for wearable biometric monitoring, augmented reality.

Like IMEC in Leuven, Silicon Saxony in Dresden, CEA-Leti in Grenoble and Eindhoven, Wales is now the proud home to a semiconductor cluster; but ours is the only one in Europe (and probably in the world) dedicated to compound semiconductors.

Delegates will have the chance to visit the compound semiconductor cluster, hear about its growth and evolution, and its future, in partnership with other European companies and clusters. This is also an opportunity for delegates to discuss inter-regional co-operation activities.

Transportation will be provided to and from Cardiff for delegates participating in the visit.

Dates and venues

25 March 2020, 18:00 - 20:00
Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, CF10 3RB

Cost: Free

View venue

26 March 2020, 09:00 - 17:00
Principality Stadium, Cardiff, CF10 1NS

Cost: Free

View venue


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Event organiser

Welsh Government
Sarn Mynach
Llandudno Junction
LL31 9RZ
United Kingdom

03000 6 03000
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