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Vaughan Gething, Minister for the Economy

First published:
17 October 2023
Last updated:

I welcome this opportunity to write to Members and update them on the publication of our Innovation Delivery Plan.

In February, we published a new Innovation Strategy: Wales Innovates which pointed the way to a different approach to innovation. It adopted a mission-based approach, promoting multi-disciplinary collaboration and best practices whilst aligning with the aims of our Programme for Government.

At that time I made a commitment to publish an Innovation Delivery Plan which would further empower all stakeholders to work collaboratively towards shared goals for innovation, as well as leveraging investment for projects from external sources, such as the UK government, where we have common objectives.

That plan is now complete. Working collaboratively across government, and in line with the commitments made in our co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru, the missions in the Strategy now have parallel actions and milestones in the Plan. There are also underpinning commitments to geographic and demographic equality alongside the joined-up way of working. The benefits of innovation must be shared by everyone in Wales.

As with the Strategy, the Plan is designed to be a living document which will evolve as actions are taken and new opportunities and priorities emerge.

We have already started creating these opportunities. In April, Welsh Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Innovate UK. This signalled a coordinated effort to promote and develop high-quality innovation proposals across a range of stakeholders, sectors and regions to support Wales in increasing its share of competitively awarded funding.

This was followed by a Collaborative Action Plan, published yesterday, developed with Innovate UK, and the first with a devolved nation.

The recent announcement that the UK will rejoin the EU's flagship scientific research scheme, Horizon Europe also opens up opportunities for Welsh stakeholders to engage in collaborative Research, Development and Innovation, which the Welsh Government will support wherever they deliver against the commitments and ambitions in Wales Innovates and the Delivery Plan.

We will review progress on the Plan at the end of its first year, reflecting on what has changed and how our ecosystem is transitioning away from direct EU funding towards a more leveraged, competitive RD&I model.

Further, structured evaluations will be made at years three and five to consider where measurable outcomes, linked to our missions and goals, have been delivered and what we can do better.

Through our Innovation Strategy and Delivery Plan we aim to create a dynamic future for ourselves, where, by working together, innovation and new technologies can support a greener Wales, with better health, better jobs and prosperity for all.