Dmitry Abbakumov is a psychometrician and data scientist. After completing his PhD in 2019 he started the Open Lab for Psychometrics of Digital Learning, and is now leading a psychometric team at the eLearning Office at HSE University in Russia. Dmitry’s professional mission is to help universities and EdTech companies improve digital learning products by providing advanced psychometric analyses of behavioural data collected by platforms and applications.
Director of the Higher Institute of IT and Intellectual Systems
Kazan Federal University
Mikhail Abramsky has been director of the Higher Institute of IT and Intelligent Systems at Kazan Federal University since 2019. Prior to this, he was head of the software engineering bachelor educational programme (2015-19). With 10 years of experience as a developer and project manager in software engineering, Professor Abramsky’s areas of scientific interest are smart education and data-driven management in education. He spoke at TEDxBaumanSt in 2019.
Timirkhan Alishev is a candidate in social sciences at KFU. He is head of KFU’s Situation Analytical Centre and is responsible for transformation in education and student experience at the university. He is also responsible for education research at KFU’s Institute of Psychology and Education. He previously served as deputy minister of education and science of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Simon Baker has been at Times Higher Education since 2010 and was previously news editor. Before joining THE, he worked for eight years as a reporter and news editor at the Press Association. He studied at the University of Bristol for a BSc in Economics and Politics and also holds a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism from City University.
Phil Baty is a leading international authority on university performance and strategy, with more than 22 years of experience in global higher education, including a decade as editor of the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings and its derivative analyses. He is an award-winning journalist, a sought-after speaker and commentator, and the creator of the THE World Academic Summits.
An experienced project manager, engineer and scientist, Dmitry has 15 years of experience leading diverse technology projects. As well his roles as head of the Digital Transformation Center and head of the Cyberphysics Department at Kazan Federal University, he is Laureate of the National Zavoisky Physical Award.
Sara Custer is digital editor at THE. She has covered global higher education as a journalist for more than five years. Before joining THE in 2017, she was editor of international education website and magazine, The PIE News.
Dr Maeve Fitzpatrick’s role at the University of Nottingham focuses on developing and implementing strategic international research collaborations aligned to both university strategy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The international development team is responsible both for oversight of the university's international funding mechanisms, and coordination of strategic research agreement and interdisciplinary funding bid submissions. The international team has supported collaborative research agreements spanning more than 80 countries across five faculties including engineering, science, arts and humanities, and medical and health sciences.
Ed Foster has worked in higher education for over 25 years in a variety of roles supporting students to engage better with their studies and reduce barriers to their participation. As head of student engagement and analytics at Nottingham Trent University, Foster is responsible for the NTU Student Dashboard learning analytics resource.
Foster’s research interests include transition into higher education, student engagement, retention and success, disparities of attainment and strategies for supporting students. He has led both UK and European research projects. Foster also blogs about the challenges of implementing learning analytics.
Ilshat Gafurov, an economics and management expert, took on the role of rector of Kazan Federal University (his alma mater) in 2010, the same year that he became chairman of the Council of Rectors of Tatarstan. In addition, he is currently serving a fourth term as a deputy of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan. He also has extensive experience as a municipal manager, having worked for 12 years as head of Yelabuga district in Tatarstan.
Almira Garifullina is a senior lecturer in the Department of Preschool Education at Kazan Federal University. She took part in a joint pilot project with University College Dublin on the digitalisation and virtualisation of educational spaces in schools and higher educational institutions. The results of the project were presented at the European Schoolnet conferences in 2018 (Lisbon) and 2019 (Warsaw).
Garifullina’s research interests include the development of the personality of a young teacher in professional activities in the context of digitalisation of education, mentoring and coaching in education.
Dr Gell has a PhD in biophysics from the University of Leeds, where he developed instrumentation and control/analysis code for the study of single proteins. Following this, he moved to a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, where he studied microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins. Now leader of the digital research team at the University of Nottingham, Dr Gell works to help researchers in medicine and health sciences make use of advanced digital technologies.
Head of the Department of Applied and Experimental Linguistics
Kazan Federal University
Professor Elena Gorobets works in the sphere of applied linguistics and psychology. At Kazan Federal University she heads the Department of Applied and Experimental Linguistics as well as the Clinical Linguistics Laboratory. Her research interests include neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, speech disorders, cognitive impairment, and applied grammar. The Clinical Linguistics Laboratory's key projects are connected with speech disorders in children and adults, cognitive development of children with epilepsy, the creation of linguistically valid psychometric tools for the assessment of cognitive functions, speech status, pain, depression, anxiety and comorbid disorders.
Dr Gusev is head of the KFU-RIKEN Functional Genomics Unit and the Extreme Biology Lab at Kazan Federal University. He is also associate professor at the University of Juntendo in Japan.
Dr Gusev obtained his PhD in the field of functional genomics and currently runs two connected laboratories, one at Kazan Federal University (Russia) and the other at RIKEN (Japan). The key project of the lab is based on the international consortium approach in hereditary cancer genomics, deep transcriptomics analysis and single cell gene expression.
Vice-president and pro vice-chancellor of teaching and learning
University of Hong Kong
Ian Holliday has been vice-president of teaching and learning at the University of Hong Kong since 2015. He works with colleagues and students throughout the campus and in partnering institutions globally to identify and develop new learning initiatives and promote quality education.
As well as associate dean of research, Kai-Lung Hui is also a professor of business and deputy head of information systems, business statistics and operations management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School.
He teaches courses in technology management and strategy in various masters and executive masters programmes at HKUST.
Dale Johnson works with university leaders to develop and implement digital solutions to enable student success. His efforts have earned him the 2016 Sally M Johnstone Award from WCET recognising his thought leadership, excellence in practice and demonstrated leadership capabilities. In 2018, he was honoured by the IMS Global Learning Consortium with an outstanding service award for his leadership of the adaptive courseware community of practice. Mr Johnson obtained a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University. He has spoken on the topic of digital innovation in higher education at more than 20 international conferences and led workshops on the subject at numerous universities.
Professor anthropological studies in culture and history
University of Hamburg
Ms Gertraud Koch specialises in the study of digitisation as a social and cultural phenomenon since the 1990s. In her research, she combines approaches from science and technology studies, digital humanities, media archaeology and critical data studies. Her recent publications include Digitisation. Theories and concepts for empirical cultural research; and Source criticism of data platform logics on the internet.
Following a PhD in biochemistry, Dr Simon Kolstoe spent eight years at the Royal Free Hospital as part of an inter¬disciplinary research group collaborating with industry. During this time, he became interested in the ethics of clinical research, completing a BA in philosophy and then an MA in research ethics. He moved to the University of Portsmouth in 2012 where he has further developed his interests in research ethics and methodology. Dr Kolstoe chairs ethics committees for the MOD, PHE and NHS (Hampshire A), and he is also a member of the Department of Health’s Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).
Professor Laurillard founded the London Knowledge Lab at the UCL Institute of Education in 2005. Her research includes large-scale online communities of teacher-designers, and the use of specialised digital course design tools to enable teachers to create and share new pedagogies for using learning technology. She is currently running two Moocs (massive open online course) on teacher development in digital course design. Previous roles include head of the government’s E-learning Strategy Unit and pro vice-chancellor for learning technologies and teaching at The Open University.
Director of the SoLET laboratory and professor of psychology
Arizona State University
Danielle McNamara is a professor of psychology at Arizona State University. She has published over 450 scholarly works on topics related to educational technologies, game-based learning, reading comprehension, writing, text and learning analytics, and natural language processing. Dr McNamara has served as an associate editor for five academic journals, and currently serves as the founding editor of APA’s Technology, Mind, and Behavior.
Sharron McPherson has many years’ experience as an investment banker and has lived in Africa since 2001, working at the forefront of the movement to invest differently in African women and youth. She is a founding member of Women in Infrastructure, Development and Energy, and of New Faces New Voices, which aims to expand the role and influence of women in the financial sector. She has a strong interest in advancing technologies for development in Africa. At present, she teaches project finance at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
Dr Carla Meskill is a professor in the department of educational theory and practice at State University of New York, Albany. Dr Meskill is one of the leading scholars in language and technology and online education. She has established and directed technology research centres at major universities, served as a research and design consultant, and shared her work around the world. Her publications include numerous books and research articles on language and digital screen mediation in classrooms, in online instruction, and as part of educator professional development.
Vice-president and chair professor of comparative policy
Professor Ka Ho Mok is vice-president and concurrently Lam Man Tsan chair professor of comparative policy at Lingnan University. He has published extensively in the fields of comparative education policy, comparative development and policy studies, and social development in contemporary China and East Asia. His recent published works have focused on comparative social development and social policy responses in the Greater China region and East Asia. He is also the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian Public Policy and the Journal of Asian Education and Development Studies, as well as a book series editor for Routledge and Springer.
Christine Ofulue is a professor of linguistics and a distance learning expert at the National Open University of Nigeria. She has facilitated several research and capacity building initiatives on research and quality assurance in open, distance and e-learning within the higher education space in Africa. Her research interests are in the sociolinguistics of contact languages and minortised languages in multilingual and technologically mediated contexts as well as in flexible learning and quality assurance to improve educational outcomes and enrich student learning experiences.
Dr Ebba Ossiannilsson is an independent senior researcher, consultant, and influencer in open online flexible, hybrid and distance learning, and the future of education. Her focus is on quality, innovation, leadership, and personal learning. Ossiannilsson works in close collaboration and serves as expert with international and national organisations.
Ossiannilsson has more than 200 publications, and is a guest editor for several special issues of a variety of journals and editorial boards.
Associate director of global engagement (strategy support)
University of Nottingham
David leads on the development and implementation of the University of Nottingham’s global engagement strategy and coordinates, facilitates and develops global engagement activities across the university in support of Nottingham’s strategic aim to be a university without borders.
David has been at the University of Nottingham for 12 years and was previously responsible for designing and implementing its advancement strategy in Asia-Pacific.
Director of the Clinical Research Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine
Kazan Federal University
Professor Rizvanov is chief researcher and director of the Clinical Research Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine at Kazan Federal University (KFU). He is also deputy head of the Strategic Academic Unit “Translational 7P Medicine” (5-100 Programme of KFU), corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, and honorary professor of fundamental medicine, University of Nottingham. His fields of expertise include multi-omics medicine, precision medicine, regenerative medicine, gene and cell therapy, molecular neurobiology, molecular virology, cancer diagnostics and therapy.
Jamil Salmi is a global tertiary education expert providing policy advice to governments, universities, and development agencies. In the past 25 years, Dr Salmi has provided advice on tertiary education development in more than 100 countries, and was the World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator until 2012.
Dr Salmi’s latest book, Tertiary Education and the Sustainable Development Goals, was published in 2017.
Dr John Schulz is a lecturer at the University of Southampton Education School, where he specialises in online and video-based learning. Schulz developed one of the university’s first online programmes, an MSc in education, and many videos on the fundamentals of research methods for education that are used by students, academics, and universities around the globe.
Head of the intelligent technologies of text management laboratory
Kazan Federal University
Professor Marina Solnyshkina is a professor of linguistics at Kazan Federal University. Her research interests include text complexity, reading comprehension and the impact of reader characteristics on comprehension. She is particularly interested in discovering new ways to assess text complexity as well as readers’ ability to understand texts. Professor Solnsyhkina has collaborated on projects with researchers and organisations internationally and presented her work at many conferences around the world, her publications have appeared in a range of international journals and books.
Professor Tayursky took on his current role in 2015. His academic and administrative career started at Kazan State University (his alma mater) and then, in 2010, he moved to the Institute of Physics at Kazan Federal University where he was deputy director for educational activities and head of the general physics department. He worked as invited professor at RIKEN, Japan (2002-2018) and led the KFU-RIKEN joint laboratory.
His awards include honoured worker of higher professional education of the Russian Federation (2011) and state prize of the Republic of Tatarstan in the field of science and technology (2006).
Sergey Usmanov is a specialist in reservoir simulation and with wide experience in surrounding areas. He holds an MSc from the National School of Geology (ENSG) in the hydrodynamics, geology and modelling on subterranean energy reservoirs. As deputy director of research at the Centre of Excellence of Digital Technology at Kazan Federal University, Mr Usmanov manages digital projects and is involved in the development of automatic algorithms.
Research director of data assimilation and optimisation
Norwegian Research Centre
Dr Randi Valestrand is a research director at the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE, formerly known as IRIS), heading the reservoir group located in Bergen, Norway. Valestrand holds a PhD degree in physics from the University of Bergen. Since 1999 she has worked with research within the petroleum sector with a keen focus on parameter estimation, history matching, reservoir characterisation and data assimilation. She joined NORCE in 2002 and has frequently been led large projects sponsored by the industry and the Research Council of Norway.
Director of the Eco-oil Global Energy and Resources Unit
Kazan Federal University
Dr Mikhail Varfolomeev leads research and industrial projects in enhanced oil recovery, gas hydrates, catalysts and biomass treatment. He also heads a Centre of Excellence in innovative and clean technologies of production and in-situ upgrading of crude oil. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the European Federation of Chemical Engineering. He completed his PhD at Kazan State University and, in 2016, graduated from the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo programme “Leaders of changes in global universities”.
Shuaiguo Wang is chief operating officer at XuetangX, the first Mooc (massive open online course) platform in China founded by Tsinghua University in 2013. Prior to joining XuetangX, he was responsible for research in digital learning at Tsinghua. His Mooc has been awarded the National Mooc of China, with more than 70,000 enrolments. In 2015, he founded Rain Classroom, claimed to be the most active teaching tool for higher education in China, with more than 20 million users. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in computer science from Tsinghua University.
Ksenia Zavyalova is a research associate in the institute of psychology and education at Kazan Federal University. She holds an MSc in educational leadership from Queen’s University Belfast. Her research interests include blended learning, the community of online teachers, teacher YouTubers, and ICT in education.
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