1st October 2019

AI & Healthcare

We explored the potential benefits of applying AI in healthcare, as well as the risks to be faced. AI, as you know has huge implications for medical practitioners and patients alike. It has, for example, the potential to offer innovative solutions to longstanding challenges faced by the NHS by empowering patients to take more responsibility for their own care, so reducing pressure on an overstretched health system.

However, its use also comes with great risks: protection of patient data and the inclusivity of healthcare are just two areas of concern. How can the NHS best weigh the benefits and risks to ensure that all patients have access to the best possible healthcare within a system they can trust? What are the systemic changes facing healthcare provision? What are the attitudinal shifts required by providers and users? During our twenty-four hours together, we will look at how best to harness the potential of AI in healthcare from these and other angles.

9th September 2019

Can anyone be an engineer?

In partnership with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers

Engineering is a central industry in the UK economy, yet it is a sector that is consistently misunderstood by the general public, leading to a serious skills shortage. Engineering remains worryingly unattractive to women and minority groups despite decades of intervention in schools and communities. It also remains an area of study that is side lined in mainstream education, and is for the most part accessible only through extracurricular enrichment opportunities. Efforts to place engineering at the heart of education, for example in University Technical Colleges, have encountered barriers to acceptance and integration in the current education system.

As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution do we need to change radically the way we think about engineering education, recruitment, and retention? What might be a new and compelling narrative for the engineering sector? What risks will be involved in changing the current system?

4th September 2019

Challenges for a world where drugs are legally regulated

In partnership with Transform Drugs

Managing the production, supply and use of illicit drugs is one of the most pressing issues facing global policymakers. Despite a continued commitment to the enforcement of prohibition in most of the world, drug markets continue to expand and countries are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of drug-related deaths. At the same time, the violence associated with the illicit drugs trade has continued to grow, with devastating consequences for some of the most vulnerable communities on the planet. 

This consultation bought together a range of international, cross-disciplinary experts to consider the ‘what ifs’ of a post-legalisation landscape. It did not dwell on the arguments for and against legal regulation, but rather considered the challenges and opportunities as reform becomes more widespread. They were seeking the broadest possible range of views, and consideration of the widest range of  actors. They want to move beyond some of the familiar debates about individual rights or the ineffectiveness of current policy to ask what we would need to be prepared for as policy changes. How might it affect the economy? How might we assess benefits and harm? How might we protect vulnerable communities in the developing world? How can we ensure policy protects public health?

The discussion opened the space for a fruitful and constructive exchange of views about the realities of promoting health and social justice in a world where drugs were legally regulated. By doing so, they hope to better inform the current debate on drug policy and ensure that, as things move forward, all the key issues are taken into consideration.

16th July 2019

Deprived Communities ‘What about the poor?’

In Partnership with Renewal & Reform, Church of England

The Renewal and Reform agenda in the wider Church of England rightly challenges all church communities to give serious prioritisation to proclamation, evangelisation and growth. Some of the most successful models of growth and church planting come from affluent communities, and are rightly championed as toolkits of ideas and innovations to help others facilitate growth.

 A cursory scan of diocesan strategy information on their websites in the Northern Province in early summer 2018 revealed that only one of the twelve Northern dioceses included any intentional proclamation of the gospel and provision of sacramental ministry in deprived communities. Diocesan budgets across post-industrial dioceses are beginning to show huge strain, and traditional models of stipendiary ministry are increasingly untenable, making the poorest parish communities the most vulnerable to amalgamation and closure. What does it say about the Church of England if we do not ring fence investment and prioritise this work in the poorest communities of our mission field. In an era of declining stipendiary posts and financial challenges, surely those who are least able to nurture within themselves vocations and financial resources without support are the ones that ought to be imaginatively protected. It is in these very communities that the greatest need for knowing and hearing about the transformative power of God, to encounter repentance and forgiveness, to understand about new life in Christ, needs to be heard.

Reflecting the work of the Reform and Renewal Estates Evangelism Task Group, the Coastal Towns initiative, and the Low Income Communities Funding review work, this timely consultation intends to raise the statistical and theological implications of the consequence of prioritizing investment of stipendiary resources in the communities most likely to grow numerically and to produce the most return financially.  It allows us to ask the questions of whether abandoning the poorest communities to find the gospel and the sacraments themselves is acceptable and intentional, and to begin to formulate a response.

The full report from the consultation can be read here

10th June 2019

Local Leadership in a Cyber Society 3: Building Resilience Together – Lessons for the future

In partnership with National Cyber Security Programme-Local, Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security (RISCS) and INetwork

Our consultation looked in depth at the emerging research and cyber exercising techniques, examined the impact of cyber-attacks on local communities and heard from senior leaders, policy makers and practitioners on how they are using the lessons to be learnt to build local resilience for the future.

The rapid pace of technical change is creating new opportunities for greater efficiency and effectiveness. These include more engaging and efficient digital services, new ways to work remotely and to store or transfer data such as mobile devices and cloud services. The seriousness of this challenge has been brought home recently by the UK and its allies exposing a campaign by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, of indiscriminate and reckless cyber-attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.

The full report from the consultation can be read here

15th May 2019

Civic virtues in the public domain

The Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues consulted a select group about the place and role of civic virtues in the public domain.  This will be an opportunity for individuals to share their knowledge and experience in this area and to participate in the development of a new Statement on Civic Virtues in the Public Domain.

1st April 2019

The Theology of Governance in a Cathedrals Context

Supported by The Church Commissioners

As part of the follow up to the Cathedrals Working Group (CWG), the Third Church Estates Commissioner, in partnership with St George’s House, hosted a consultation on 1st – 2nd April to discuss the theology of governance in a cathedrals context. The consultation was designed to facilitate a conversation between those deans selected by their peers to discuss what theology has to say on the topic of cathedral governance. 

The idea was to use the principles or criteria that emerged to inform a critique of the CWG proposals, with a view to recommending appropriate changes to Synod both through a resulting GSMisc and through the Synodical process.

28th March 2019

Faith and Artificial Intelligence 2

In partnership with Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

This two-day workshop bought together 30 faith community leaders, scholars and policy-makers, to explore faith perspectives on emerging technologies of Artificial Intelligence, and help religious stakeholders to feedback to their communities who might have questions about the future of the technology and their religion.


Understanding the Prevent Strategy
20th March 2019

Understanding the Prevent Strategy: on paper, in practice, in public perception

The Prevent Strategy, set up in 2006 and reviewed in 2011 and 2018, aims to prevent terrorism by targeting people who are deemed vulnerable to radicalisation and is an extremely contested arm of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. It.

In a 2017 House of Commons debate James Berry, MP described the ‘two polar opposite views’ on Prevent: one that sees it as an essential and inviolable tool in the fight against terrorism; the other that criticizes its perceived targeting of Muslims and potential to erode rights to privacy and confidentiality. The conflict between these two interpretations is exacerbated by factors including the difficulty in defining radicalization and the lack of concrete information on Prevent referrals due to the confidential nature of its service. In addition, the claim that Prevent has a safeguarding function has been criticized due to a fear that it will lead to securitization of essential services such as health and social care. How is Prevent interacting with these concerns and challenges? Is it effective and fair and what steps can be taken to make it more so? Thought and discussion are needed to answer these questions.

Impacting Learning Outcomes Through Space Design
21st February 2019

Impacting Learning Outcomes Through Space Design: Methods for Now and the Future

In partnership with Herman Miller

Participants explored the notion that active learning spaces and respective pedagogies directly impact learning outcomes. These outcomes are typically considered in, for example, the areas of progress in student grades, user satisfaction, and sustainable design. Participants will however also investigate learning space design and its impact on student skills development, and how we can best evidence and present this at our organisations and universities.