The events in our 2021-22 programme:

Tuesday 1st March 2022: "Is the NHS being privatised and does it matter?" by John Puntis,  Retired Consultant Paediatrician

Click here to see the recording of this event


Private companies play an increasing role in the NHS. The pandemic has demonstrated how an unregulated market has cost the taxpayer dear, with little benefit. The £37bn for a crucial 'test and trace' service was examined by the National Audit Office with the conclusion that there was no evidence it had reduced the spread of infection. Contracts for Personal Protective Equipment were fast tracked for companies with no relevant experience but support from senior conservative party members. Politicians are keen to deny the Health and Care Bill now going through parliament is anything to do with further privatisation while finding it difficult to explain what it does hope to achieve in the midst of a pandemic. The proportion of NHS budget finding its way to the private sector continues to increase while government claims the NHS is and will remain free at the time of use. What challenges has covid thrown up for health and social care and how should they be addressed?

Tuesday 1st February 2022: "Yorkshire as MedTech Innovation Hub" by Dr Mike Raxworthy,  CEO of Neotherix and Associate Professor, University of Leeds.

Click here to see the recording of this event


Yorkshire has a strong heritage in medical technology – in which we include the medical device and diagnostics industries.  For instance, Charles F Thackray started supplying sterile wound dressings and surgical instruments from his pharmacy shop in Great George Street in 1906 and TJ Smith was active in supplying cod liver oil from Hull Docks in 1856 – eventually leading to the formation of Smith & Nephew in 1896.  Today, MedTech is a nationally-important sector, with a turnover of over £24bn and employing over 127,000 people.  Yorkshire and the Humber constitutes 10% of this total – larger than any other region except the South East.


Leeds (and the Leeds City Region) is home to around 250 MedTech businesses, the majority of these being SMEs.  Activities range from digital health, advanced medical textiles, regenerative devices, rapid diagnostic tests, point of care monitoring equipment and tissue repair scaffolds. With an ecosystem comprising a significant concentration of NHS headquarters, leading teaching hospitals and major universities engaged in MedTech research, companies are in a strong position to form collaborations to bring new innovations through the complex new product development process.  We will look at a few cases in this talk, examine trends and speculate on possible future devices bringing new benefits to patients.










Mike Raxworthy is a biomedical scientist and holds a PhD from the University of Leeds. He has over 32 years’ experience leading research and development projects in the medical technology, medical device and pharmaceutical industries, having held senior roles at Smith & Nephew and 3M Health Care.  His first involvement in tissue engineering/regenerative medicine was in 1996. He holds an MBA from Warwick Business School and is also the founder and CEO of Neotherix, which he spun-out from Smith & Nephew in 2007 to focus on bioresorbable regenerative scaffolds for tissue repair.  Mike combines Neotherix responsibilities with those of Associate Professor in Engineering Management and Innovation at the University of Leeds.  He was a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Medical Technology Innovation and Translation at Leeds from 2015-2018.

Mike’s background has provided an understanding of the workings of large and micro companies as well as extensive experience of the public sector through business engagement and education roles at Leeds.  Many lessons on the challenges of MedTech translation from lab to market have been learned (and are still being learned) along the way.  He has a strong interest in entrepreneurship and the innovation process and in selecting and developing the most promising ideas and concepts using appropriate decision criteria. He has recently been able to apply this interest to the translation of MedTech in low-resource settings and is the Principal Investigator for a Global Challenges Research Fund project focusing on biomedical engineering in East Africa.


Tuesday 18th January 2022: "Universal Basic Income and  Universal Basic Services: Complementary or  Competitive ? Do we need to choose ?" by Dr Simon Duffy,  Centre for Welfare Reform and Anna Coote, New Economics  Foundation

Click this link to see the recording of this event


Simon Duffy will argue that advocacy for Universal Basic Income ( UBI) is our best chance to fight growing poverty, insecurity and inequality. Basic income does not only help us tackle many of the serious economic problems we face but it also opens the door to a more empowered, healthy and engaged democracy.


Anna Coote  will talk about “Life’s essentials for all: the case for universal basic services and the Social Guarantee.”


Dr Simon Duffy is Director of Citizen Network Research and President of Citizen Network Coop. Over the last 30 years his work has focused on how to create a world where everyone can be an active and valued citizen. In 2016 co-founded UBI Lab Sheffield and the UBI Lab Network and there are now 44 UBI Labs around the world, all promoting the case for basic income. He has also been very active in exploring how the principles Universal Basic Income (UBI) can also be used to reform disability benefits. For more information about Simon and his work:













Anna Coote is Principal Fellow at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). A leading analyst, writer and advocate in social policy, she has written widely on social justice, sustainable development, working time, public health policy, public involvement and democratic dialogue, gender and equality. She is co-author of The Case for Universal Basic Services (2020 Polity Press) and The Case for a Four Day Week (2020 Polity Press). She directs the Social Guarantee initiative, which promotes collective measures to ensure universal access to life’s essentials.



Tuesday 7th December 2021: "Food, power, poverty and climate - humanity at a crossroads" by Geoff Tansey.

click this link to access the recording of Geoff Tansey's talk.


Our food systems are where climate change, biodiversity loss, growing inequality, health and well-being interact from a personal to global level. In his talk Geoff Tansey will discuss some of the major changes since the first World Food Conference in 1974 to the UN Food System Summit in 2021. Shifts in who has what power and control over our food and who carries the risks and benefits from changes in the food system provide a lens through which to see the challenges and choices facing us in the 21st century.

Geoff Tansey is an independent writer who curates the online, open access Food Systems Academy. He chaired the independent Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty. He helped found and edit the journal Food Policy, has worked as a consultant to international agencies, governments and non-governmental organisations, and has worked on agricultural development projects in Turkey, Mongolia, Albania and Kazakstan. He is an honorary visiting fellow at the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University and several other universities.

His books include The future control of food - A guide to international negotiations and rules on intellectual property, biodiversity and food security co-edited with Tasmin Tajotte and The Food System: a guide with Tony Worsley. In June 2005, he received one of six Joseph Rowntree ‘Visionaries’ Awards and won the Derek Cooper Award for best food campaigner/educator.

Tuesday 5th October 2021: "Global development scenarios in a 'post-Covid 19' world: the ugly, the bad and the good?" by Professor David Hulme, University of Manchester.

click this link to access the slides of Professor Hulme's talk

click this link to access the recording of Professor Hulme's talk

click this link to access the recording of the discussion following Professor Hulme's talk


Covid-19 has had profound effects on global development and, in turn, patterns of global development have shaped the evolution of the coronavirus. There have been short-term effects - increased mortality and economic slow-downs - and longer-term impacts - increased scientific capacity for vaccination development and home-working.  In this presentation, I examine scenarios for the future in the light of the pandemic. Will these be 'ugly' (dramatically reducing the quality of global governance and prospects for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals/SDGs), 'bad' (leaving a poorly functioning global governance system as it is) or could they be 'good' (creating the impetus for more effective international action to tackle global problems)?

David Hulme is Professor of Development Studies at the University of Manchester where he was Executive Director of the Global Development Institute (GDI). He is CEO of the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre (ESID) and the FutureDAMS Research Centre (FutureDAMS),( and FutureDAMS (, interdisciplinary partnerships of research institutes and think-tanks across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.


David has worked on  poverty and poverty reduction, microfinance, governance and public sector management, the role of NGOs in conflict/peace and development, environmental management and social protection for more than 30 years in South Asia, East Africa and the Pacific.His recent books include What Works for Africa’s Poorest? (Practical Action 2017), Should Rich Nations Help the Poor? (Polity, 2016).