The Arc between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge has been identified as an economic asset of international standing with potential for significant growth to the benefit of local communities and the country as a whole. Realising this potential will require new ways of working between business, local stakeholders and Government so that the benefits of growth can be delivered for local people and the country whilst protecting and enhancing the natural environment. Ensuring that the advantages of development are delivered in a way which enhances sustainability and resilience will require major innovations in networked services such as transport, energy and water.

The 10 universities in the Arc are now working together as the Arc Universities Group. Their combined turnover is £5b and together they are responsible for nearly 20% of the UK’s innovation and spin out activity from universities. The 10 have organised themselves into a group and are being recognised in Government strategies for the Arc as the focal point for delivery of R&D and skills for the uplift in high-skilled jobs of the future. Cranfield University is right in the middle of the Arc. As such, it is the natural host for the Arc Universities Group and for this conference.

With an already world-class and vibrant research and entrepreneurial ecosystem and a need to provide pioneering solutions to underpin growth, science and innovation are at the heart of the Arc project. The Science and Innovation for the Arc conference will both give a voice to a selection of perspectives on delivering the promise of the Arc and showcase leading-edge research aligned with the four policy pillars of Connectivity, Place Making, Productivity and Environment.

There will be a conference dinner to allow for more networking and continued conversations in a social environment. We will be including the dinner as part of the conference ticket price.


Please see the event flyer for sponsorship options. We are offering a package for a drinks reception, lunch and dinner sponsor. If you have any queries please contact the Events Team.


If you would be interested in exhibiting at the event please contact the Events Team. Exhibition spaces are £500 (plus VAT) per stand and include two delegate passes. 

Event programme

An event programme will be announced soon.

Confirmed speakers

Sir Anthony Seldon - Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham

Emran Mian - Director General, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Will Hutton - Principal of Hertford College, University of Oxford, and Chair of the Big Innovation Centre

Professor Janet Dwyer - Professor of Rural Policy and Director of CCRI, University of Gloucestershire

James Evans - Professor of Geography, University of Manchester

Adrian Hickford - Research Assistant within Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton

Dr Tom Holbrook - Professor of Architecture (Urbanism) Industry Fellow RMIT and Mayor’s Design Advocate, Greater London Authority

Dr Stephanie Hussels - Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship, Director of the Business Growth Programme, Cranfield University

Dr Ying Jin - Reader in Architecture and Urbanism, University of Cambridge

Professor Paul Leinster - Professor of Environmental Assessment, Cranfield University

Dr James Pritchard - Research Fellow in the Transportation Research Group, University of Southampton  

Professor Simon Pollard - Pro-Vice-Chancellor, School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University

Professor Lynette Ryals OBE - Chief Executive, MK:U and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University

Andrew M Smith - Corporate Affairs Director, Pinewood Studios Group 

Professor Tom Stephenson - Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Cranfield University

Paul Thompson - Employer and Skills Manager, SEMLEP

Professor Liz Varga - Professor of Complex Systems, UCL 

Location and travel details

Vincent Building
Cranfield University
MK43 0AL

Cranfield University is located at the very heart of the UK – within the innovation triangle between London and the cities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Our central location provides easy access from the M1, excellent main line rail service as well as proximity to key international airports.

Road: we are just 10 minutes from Junctions 13 and 14 of the M1 motorway; there is free parking on campus.
Rail: Milton Keynes or Bedford.
Air: London Luton (22 miles), Heathrow (50 miles) or Birmingham (70 miles).

For further travel details please visit our location page.


 There are two hotels on campus at Cranfield University. Please visit Venue Cranfield for full details. 

Cranfield Management Development Centre

Our 186 well-appointed double en-suite bedrooms offer the best in comfort and contemporary design. Each room has been designed to suit the needs of the business executive, including complimentary broadband with high speed WiFi and a spacious well lit desk area.

A restaurant and licenced bar mean that you can work, rest and relax in style at CMDC.

Contact the Reservations Team:

Mitchell Hall

A combination of 114 en-suite single and double occupancy bedrooms offer a comfortable home away from home for business or leisure overnight stays. With complimentary parking and Wi-Fi, a choice of dining and a licenced bar you are assured of a warm welcome at Mitchell Hall.

Contact the Reservations Team

Who should attend

The conference will be relevant to anyone with a direct interest in the growth challenges of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc but also to a wider audience of professionals in the planning, investment, infrastructure, environment, research, community development and innovation fields.


£150 per person.

How to register

Registration is now open. To register please complete this short form.