Gerard Lyons Edinburgh

Our event in Edinburgh was co-hosted by the University of Edinburgh Business School, and marked nearly five years since the Institute’s first event, also at the university, and also with Dr Gerard Lyons. While an expanded team, a range of new partners, and a busier programme than ever are signs of great progress, this event highlighted that just as it was in 2012, the Institute continues to bring global leaders to Scotland, and build valuable partnerships with the country’s top educational institutions.

The event saw representation from a range of sectors, including finance, food & drink, and tech – the recent Chinese acquisition of technology unicorn Skyscanner was naturally a topic of discussion, with Dr Lyons suggesting this is a development to be welcomed for the most part, and that it can be seen as part of a rapidly growing trend of Chinese investment in big brands and cutting edge technology here in the UK. 

Other topics discussed ranged from the rise of big data, the importance of education, and the minutiae of trade deals. However the main items on the agenda were of course the impact of Brexit and Trump, and how these changes would play into the wider geopolitical and global economic picture, factoring in China and other key parts of Asia. Dr Lyons offered encouraging outlooks, suggesting that while we must become accustomed to uncertainty amid such challenges, if policy is pursued by governments favouring the “three I’s” of infrastructure, investment, and innovation, there is massive opportunity to grow the global economy while also ensuring the benefits of growth are distributed more equally among those most economically squeezed since 2007/08.

It was also greatly encouraging to see local school children as well as university students engaging with this high level of discussion, and offering their own questions and opinions. Creating a unique space for young people, businesses, and global leaders to engage with one another is a key goal of our programmes at the Institute, and we look forward to building on our partnership with the University of Edinburgh to make an even greater impact in 2017.

Watch the interview with Dr. Gerard Lyons below.