One-day conference: “The power of ideas”

“The power of ideas” is an invitation to the curious, the innovators, and all who seek inspiration to achieve a better world.

It transcends the typical conference— we’re staging a tribute to the visionaries, the creative minds, the thinkers, and the creators –  the individuals thriving within our academic and industry circles and those who’ve journeyed from distant shores to share their light with us.

Guided by the minds that shape tomorrow, we will discuss how research and ideas can blossom into tangible, transformative real-world applications for a better future.

Together, we’ll explore the exciting worlds of AI, net zero, data science, and life sciences, charting a course towards a brighter tomorrow.

Let’s dream, discover and design the future – together.

Join us on 18 April 2024 at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Register now!

Agenda and Speakers

We’ve got an exciting and stimulating agenda all planned out for you.  Here’s what you can expect:

10.00 – 13.00  Big ideas and curious minds

We’ll kick things off with stories from individuals whose curious minds and innovative thinking led to significant discoveries and success. It’s a chance to see how big ideas come to life.

13.45 – 14.45  Future forecast

Prepare for a series of engaging presentations on the future of important fields like AI, environmental sustainability, data science, and health. Experts will share their insights on what’s next, offering a glimpse into the exciting developments on the horizon.

15.15 – 16.15  Reaching for the stars

Meet Dame Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist, broadcaster, and author, fueled by the Moon landings and imaginary worlds of science fiction (especially Star Trek) all her life dreamt of getting out there into space. But things have not been easy for her. Going to 13 different schools and having undiagnosed dyslexia meant the school was a challenging place. But when you have a big, wonderful, powerful dream, anything is possible.

During the day you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Collaboration Showcase – an exhibition displaying the achievements of organisations and initiatives which contribute to the national innovation narrative, telling the story of Scotland’s collective efforts in innovation, discovery and commercialisation.


Meet the speakers!

Meet the visionaries and creative minds who will share their ideas and vision for the future with us.

Dame Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Space scientist, author and broadcaster

Dame Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a scientist and broadcaster referred to as the BBC’s ‘face of space’. She is the presenter of the astronomical institution The Sky at Night, has fronted a number of space documentaries, and regularly appears on science and non-science programmes.

From a modest background and diagnosed with dyslexia, Maggie overcame the naysayers to study at Imperial College where she obtained her degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. After her studies, she toured the UK speaking to inner-city schools about what scientists do, why they do it, and how to be one with the aim of inspiring the next generation of physicists. 

Since then, she has spent her career making novel, bespoke instrumentation in both the industrial and academic environments. These instruments have ranged from hand-held land mine detectors to an optical subsystem for the James Webb Space Telescope (the replacement for the Hubble space telescope). She has worked for the MoD on missile warning systems, and for aerospace giant EADS on a range of projects to monitor the earth’s atmosphere.

Maggie is a research fellow and an Honorary Research Associate at University College London, and continues to work to engage the public with science. She augments her ‘Tours of the Universe’ presentations to young and old with regular TV and radio appearances. As well as fronting The Sky at Night, Maggie has appeared in programmes including Stargazing Live, The Science of Doctor Who, and In Orbit: How Satellites Rule Our World. 

Maggie has said the achievements of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon captured her imagination and drive to "get out there into space". In turn she has engaged school children around the world. She credits her deep passion for science as the tool that allowed her to break through social mobility barriers.

Maggie also tackles science education and public understanding, and women in science and engineering. She received an MBE for services to science and science education. Maggie is an engaging and passionate speaker. Her enthusiasm for science and learning is infectious.


Aline de Santa Izabel

Innovation manager - ecosystems and partnerships Compare Foundation and Health Data Sweden EDIH

Aline de Santa Izabel, a Brazilian innovator and ecosystem builder based in Helsinki, Finland, brings innovation to life, drawing inspiration from the intricacies of both biological ecosystems and cutting-edge innovation environments. Driven by curiosity, with a deep-rooted passion for science and for making positive changes, Aline is a specialist in biosciences, an entrepreneur, and catalyst behind impactful ventures. Her journey spans diverse startups and scaleups at the intersection of business, science, and tech across Europe. Currently at the forefront of Digital Health ecosystem development, Aline dedicates herself to supporting innovative startups in the Nordics and Baltics through the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) Health Data Sweden. Aline also serves as a lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Royal Technical University KTH/Sweden and acts as an Expert Advisor & Jury Member for DeepTech at the European Commission European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator.  


Stuart Cassells

General Manager the Macallan Estate

Best known as creator of the world’s most famous bagpipe band The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Stuart Cassells has had a remarkable career which has involved overcoming adversity on several occasions. He is passionate about growing Scottish brands globally and promoting The Best in Scotland. Winner of BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year and the first graduate in a degree in bagpipes from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2005, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers achieved platinum album sales and performed at the world’s biggest events after winning a BBC prime time TV talent show. Stuart’s musical career was dramatically cut short when he developed the condition Focal Hand Dystonia which forced him to find a new direction. Stuart is now focused on creating world-class luxury experiences through Scotch whisky and has led transformational success at The Glenturret and The Macallan. The last 12 months has been his most challenging after suffering a serious stroke which severely impacted his speech, memory and cognition and required open heart surgery and a year of rebuilding to achieve a full recovery. Stuart is now focused on inspiring others to think bigger in order to lead a happier and more impactful life. 


Susanne Mitschke

Founder and CEO Citrus Labs

Susanne Mitschke is an award-winning healthcare entrepreneur, recognized as Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree in 2018 and 2020, and Capital Magazine 40 Under 40 awardee in 2021. She is the founder and CEO of Citruslabs, the fastest-growing Contract Research Organization for health & wellness brands, specializing in supplements, superfoods, and cosmetics. Prior to founding Citruslabs, Susanne created MindMate, the #1 health app for baby boomers, which has won multiple awards and has been titled the “ultimate Alzheimer’s app” by the BBC. Susanne holds an MSc in International Management & Leadership from the University of Glasgow and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at Harvard University. Beyond her professional endeavors, Susanne finds joy and challenge in the equestrian world and has been competing in the sport of “eventing” for the past 25 years. Apart from that, she also runs marathons around the world.


Prof Caroline Barelle

Founder and CEO Elasmogen

Caroline is CEO and founder of Elasmogen, a company that discovers and develops soloMER biologics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer. She has successfully led teams at Wyeth and Pfizer in Global Bio-therapeutic Technologies progressing early platform technologies to late-stage clinical development. She has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship, is a doctoral graduate from the University of Aberdeen in Biochemistry and an MBA (distinction) from Robert Gordon’s University, Business School. Caroline is a member of the Opportunity North East Life Sciences Board, a member of the GVV board committed to investing in women’s health, a member of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre advisory Board, sits on the Royal Society’s Science and Industry Translation Committee and an honorary Professor at Queen’s University Belfast. She also sits on the BBSRC FoF and UKRI FLF review panels and is a former Entrepreneur in Residence for Queen’s University Belfast. 


Dr Dave Hughes

Founder and CEO Novosound

Dr Dave Hughes, a high-growth entrepreneur and physicist, has over 12 years’ experience researching ultrasound for medical, dental, and industrial applications. During his time as a Research Fellow at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Dave invented Novosound’s core IP which led to the creation of Novosound in April 2018 – the first spin-out company to emerge from UWS. Dave Hughes has developed from an academic to a successful company director, overseeing the technical direction and vision of Novosound. Under his leadership, Novosound has grown rapidly to become an award-winning global business, working across diverse industry sectors and markets including oil & gas, aerospace, energy and medical. Dave holds a visiting professorship at UWS and was named the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland ‘Director of the Year 2020’ in the start-up category. Since 2018 Novosound has grown from six people to 30+. Key customers have included international energy company Uniper and, in the aerospace sector, BAE Systems and GE Aviation. More recently, Novosound has doubled revenues for the last three consecutive years and taken exciting steps in the wearable and healthcare sector with work in the dental imaging market and a digital healthcare R&D project with a Nasdaq-listed tech group. 


Professor Eyad Elyan

Professor of Machine Learning and Computer Vision Robert Gordon University

Following his completion of a PhD in 3D modeling and human face recognition at the University of Bradford, Eyad Elyan joined Robert Gordon University School of Computing as a lecturer in 2009. He then progressed to be a Senior Lecturer in 2015 and a Reader in 2018. In 2020, he was promoted to the rank of full Professor in Machine Learning and Computer Vision. Eyad established and heads the Interactive Machine Vision research group, dedicated to crafting intelligent, data-driven applications in Scotland and beyond.

His research is focused on applied computer vision, deep learning, and machine learning. He collaborates extensively with various industries across Scotland, actively contributing to the creation of state-of-the-art AI solutions to optimise and digitally transform their operations. With a track record encompassing over 100 publications in AI and Machine Learning, supervision of 12 successful PhD completions, and leadership on more than 30 innovative industry projects, he was recognised with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Academic of the Year award in 2023 and as a finalist for the 2024 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Award. 


Professor Mark Parsons

Director EPCC

Professor Mark Parsons is the Director of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh. EPCC is known internationally for the breadth and scale of its large-scale computing and data science activities. EPCC hosts a wide variety of large-scale computing systems including the ARCHER2 National HPC Service and the Edinburgh International Data Facility, which is designed to support AI and Data Science projects in the Edinburgh City Region. Professor Parsons is also the Technical Director of the UK Exascale Supercomputer project which will be hosted at EPCC. 


Professor Patricia Connolly

Director of Strathclyde Institute of Medical Devices University of Strathclyde

Professor Trish Connolly FREng FRSE FIET CEng has worked across Europe in the medical industry and academia, researching and developing medical devices. Her work took her to Italy where she was head of research for Byk Gulden Italia (Altana Pharma), Milan and Switzerland where she served as Technical Director for Nycomed Amersham before resettling in her native Glasgow on her appointment as Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Strathclyde. She is currently Director of the Strathcyde Institute of Medical Devices (SIMD) and the CEO of Ohmedics Ltd, a spin-out of the University formed to commercialise her work on a pioneering wound moisture monitor and other wearable diagnostic devices. She is Deputy Associate Principal for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University and co-leads the University's Healthtech Cluster.


David Millar

Senior Innovation Fellow Hydro Nation Chair R&I Programme

David is an environmental scientist, entrepreneur and senior leader with over 18 years' experience in the international energy sector working in start-ups, major service companies and operators. 

Through his career David has led and delivered transformational strategies across technical and non-technical disciplines resulting in global change, innovation and new technology deployment with great success. 

Up until December 2020 he was responsible for designing and delivering the award winning TechX accelerator at the Net Zero Technology Centre (Formerly OGTC) in Aberdeen.

In December 2021 David joined the Hydro Nation Chair Research and Innovation programme where he leads the development and delivery of a unique technology support programme for exciting start-ups looking to support Scottish Water’s drive beyond Net Zero by 2040.


All the details

18 April 2024. 0930 - 1630

The Strathclyde Suite at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

University researchers, PhDs, postgraduate and undergraduate students, leaders of Universities and the entrepreneurial ecosystem - anyone with a passion for discovery and moving the dial on innovation.

Book your place now at this link - it's completely free.


Thanks to our funders

This event is proudly supported  by the Scottish Ecosystem Fund 2023-24