Regulatory Horizons Council (RHC)

The Regulatory Horizons Council (RHC) is an independent expert committee that identifies the implications of technological innovation, and provides government with impartial, expert advice on the regulatory reform required to support its rapid and safe introduction.

Background

In its white paper on Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the government committed to establishing a Regulatory Horizons Council (RHC) to identify the implications of technological innovation with high potential benefit for the UK economy and society, and advise the government on regulatory reform needed to support its rapid and safe introduction. The Council was established in 2019 by BEIS as an expert committee and is supported by a team of civil servants.

The Council:

  • scans the horizon for technological innovation and trends, building on existing work and data across departments and regulators
  • prioritises products, services and business models with high potential benefit for the UK economy and society
  • identifies broad areas of regulatory reform needed in order to facilitate the rapid and safe introduction of these products, services and business models
  • makes recommendations to government on broad priorities for regulatory reform, based on the potential benefit for the UK economy and society while protecting citizens and the environment
  • monitors the government’s progress in delivering reforms that the Council has recommended and evaluating the impact of its recommendations

Regulatory reform refers to all activities relating to the reform of regulation, including consulting, trialling, introduction, implementation and evaluation of legislation, rules and guidance by policymakers and regulators

The Council published reports on fusion energy, medical devices, genetic technologies, and drones in 2021. It is currently working on its second tranche of activity, looking at the crosscutting issue of regulation and innovation, hydrogen in maritime, neurotechnologies and artificial intelligence as a medical device.

Membership

Christopher Hodges (Chair)

Christopher Hodges OBE is Emeritus Professor of Justice Systems at the University of Oxford and a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. He is co-founder of the International Network for Delivery of Regulation. He has published several books on regulation, including Law and Corporate Behaviour (2015), Ethical Business Practice and Regulation (with Ruth Steinholtz, 2017), Regulatory Delivery (with Graham Russell, 2019), and Outcome-Based Cooperation (2022).

He has extensive experience of regulatory systems, for 25 years as a City of London lawyer, and for the past 20 years as a leading academic researching many different sectors, and advising numerous governments, regulators and businesses on regulatory issues, design and delivery. He is also a leading expert on dispute resolution systems, and has contributed particularly to reform of court and consumer Ombudsmen systems. He chairs the Housing and Property Redress Group, and is a member of the Commonhold Council.

Bodies previously chaired include the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, regulatory committees of the European and UK medical technology industry associations, and Bampton Classical Opera. He is a member of the Advisory Board of The Internet Commission, and a lay member of the Rail Ombudsman’s Consumer Panel.

Read more: Christopher Hodges appointed Chair of the Regulatory Horizons Council (PDF, 74.9 KB, 1 page)

Professor Alastair Denniston

Professor Alastair Denniston is a consultant ophthalmologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust leading research into the use of health data research and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve patient care in the ‘real world’. He is Hon Professor at the University of Birmingham, and is part of the Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital/UCL. He is the AI Theme Lead for the Centre for Regulatory Science and Innovation, and Director of INSIGHT the Health Data Research UK Hub for Eye Health.

He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in 2010, and was appointed Consultant at University Hospitals Birmingham in 2012.

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Andy Greenfield is an Honorary Research Lecturer at the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford. Most of his career has been spent in scientific research; his expertise lies in genetics and genetic technologies, especially in the areas of reproductive biology and assisted reproductive technologies.

From 2009 to 2018 he was a board member of the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, the statutory UK regulator of IVF and human embryo research, and he also brings expertise on ethical innovation, policy, and governance as a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics from 2014 to 2020. He was appointed to the Board of the Human Tissue Authority in April 2022 and from July 2022 has chaired the Products of Genetic Technologies subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), a scientific advisory committee of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Professor Joyce Tait

Professor Joyce Tait is Professor and Co-Director at the Innogen Institute, University of Edinburgh. She has an interdisciplinary background, covering both natural and social sciences specialising in innovation-governance-stakeholder interactions in the life sciences and related areas.

She was awarded a CBE for services to the social sciences in 2005 and an honorary doctorate of the Open University in 2009 and she is also Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Appointments include membership of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council and the Boards of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre and the Roslin Foundation.

Dr Parag Vyas

Dr Parag Vyas is the Managing Director of Panitek Power Limited, which develops sustainable energy technology, and the Director of PV10 Consult, a technology strategy consulting company. He has worked for over 25 years in the energy and transport industry sectors. Former roles include Head of Technology at Aggreko plc and Head of Advanced Concepts Centre at Rolls Royce plc, and he has spent a decade working in Germany and Switzerland. He has a wealth of experience with identifying disruptive trends that lead to innovation.

He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Register of interests

The Regulatory Horizons Council - Register of Interests - November 2022 (PDF, 273 KB, 9 pages)

Charter

Meeting reports and minutes

Meeting reports and minutes August 2020 to November 2022 (PDF, 647 KB, 65 pages)

RHC Team Retrospective, August 2020 (PDF, 226 KB, 8 pages)

RHC public engagement virtual roundtable, 14 July 2020 (PDF, 324 KB, 8 pages)

RHC roundtable on research commercialisation, 16 June 2020: minutes (PDF, 119 KB, 5 pages)

RHC roundtable with technology entrepreneurs and investors, 12 May 2020: minutes (PDF, 162 KB, 4 pages)

Reports

The regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a Medical Device - November 2022

This report makes recommendations about the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a Medical Device.

Neurotechnology regulation - November 2022

This report makes recommendations about the safe and rapid development of neurotechnology.

Closing the gap: getting from principles to practice for innovation friendly regulation - June 2022

This report makes recommendations on how the UK can further support innovation through regulation.

Drones regulation - November 2021

This report makes recommendations on how the UK can unlock the benefits of drones and support wider commercial deployment through regulation.

Genetic technologies - September 2021

This report makes recommendations on how the UK can support innovation in genetic technologies through regulatory and non-regulatory changes.

Medical devices regulation - August 2021

This report makes recommendations on how the UK can encourage international investment, innovation and improve safety in the medical devices area through regulatory and non-regulatory changes.

Fusion energy regulation - June 2021

This report provides several recommendations on how the UK can continue to move towards an innovation-friendly, long-term regulatory framework to support the rapid and safe introduction of fusion energy.

Research and other publications

Evaluation of the Regulatory Horizons Council: findings from Tranche 1 - March 2022

A summary of findings from the evaluation conducted by the Regulatory Horizons Council into its first 4 deep dive projects.

Evidence-based decision making framework - December 2021

This framework outlines the methods that the Regulatory Horizons Council uses to collect evidence and how it uses this data to form its recommendations.

RHC response to consultation on better regulation (October 2021)

Regulatory Horizons Council: response to BEIS consultation on reforming the framework for better regulation

Future of technological innovations and the role of regulation - August 2021

This paper captures opinions on the future socio-economic context within which technological innovations will be delivered from 2021 to 2030 including:

  • how innovations might shape that content
  • what could be done to bring about a preferred future
  • how regulation can act as an enabler

Horizon scanning - December 2020

The RHC conducted a horizon scan to capture a large selection of pan-economy innovations likely to come to market over the next ten years. This generated raw data of 542 emerging innovations, that were then prioritised.

Potential priority areas for the Council: briefing note (December 2020) (PDF, 524 KB, 53 pages)

Horizon scanning: background (December 2020) (PDF, 354 KB, 2 pages)

Horizon scanning output (XLSM, 366 KB)

The prioritisation of future innovations describes an evidence-based approach to prioritising these areas of emerging innovations.

Call for input

Tell us about an area of regulation (relating to technological innovation) which you would like the Regulatory Horizons Council to investigate further by completing this form.

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Contact

RegulatoryHorizonsCouncil@beis.gov.uk