Frontiers of Development Symposium

Sunday 15 July – Wednesday 18 July

Hilton Hotel Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro


The Frontiers of Development Programme works to engage expertise from the 4 UK Academies to hold 2 symposia a year in developing countries, bringing together participants from engineering, medical, social and science backgrounds across industry and academia to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations on global challenges with the SDGs at the heart. The theme of the events are designed to be broad enough for researchers and practitioners of all disciplines to get behind.

The next symposium will be part of the Inclusivity and Wellbeing Series entitled: Inclusivity and Wellbeing: Coastal Communities in a 3°C World. Three themed sessions will take place over the course of the symposium which will be challenge led, bridging different disciplines. The current themes for this event are: Sustainable Blue Economy, Management and Protection of Marine Ecosystems and Climate Induced Disaster Mitigation and Resilience.

It is due to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Sunday 15 July – Wednesday 18 July 2018. After the symposium, participants will be prompted to form interdisciplinary collaborations to apply for a GCRF Networking Grant.

 In addition to the Frontiers of Development Symposium, we are working with the Academy’s Leaders in Innovation Fellowship (LIF) Programme to host an ‘Innovation Unconference’. This is a separate, event which will follow the conclusion of the Frontiers Symposium; though it is a separate event, it has been designed to align with the same themes as the Frontiers symposium (Inclusivity and Wellbeing: Coastal Communities in a 3° World). The event will have a specific focus on innovation within the marine and climate spaces. Logistically, the unconference will bring together approx. 90 LIF alumni with Frontiers delegates to allow them to broaden their networks and share their knowledge. The format of the event is as follows: at the opening, facilitators will work with participants to arrange a series of sessions, which will take place in parallel, based on what the participants want to discuss. The emphasis is on peer to peer learning system, thus, breaking from the traditional ‘top down’ format of a conference where only senior figures can provide wisdom. Rather than trying to anticipate the needs of the cohort and create the whole programme in advance, the unconference format mobilises the expertise of the network and creates content which is entirely specific to the group. It will take place from Wednesday 18 – Thursday 19 July 2018.

Attendance at the unconference is not mandatory and is managed on an opt-in basis. It is exclusively open to attendees of the Frontiers of Development Symposium and Invited LIF Alumni. All travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for those attending the Frontiers of Development Symposium will be covered by RAEng. Those who wish to opt-in to the Innovation Unconference will also have additional expenses in these areas covered.

The Royal Academy of Engineering will cover the costs of travel, accommodation and subsitence for the duration of the event. We welcome expressions of interest from potential attendees, or colleague nominations:

 If you have any questions or queries, please contact Russell Lamb (


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