Professor Cara Aitchison is president and vice-chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. She was previously vice-chancellor of Plymouth Marjon University, head of the Moray House School of Education the chair in social and environmental justice at the University of Edinburgh, and dean of education and sport at Bedfordshire University. Professor Aitchison was chair of the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework Sub-Panel for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism. She is a council member of the Academy of Social Sciences and CBI Cymru/Wales, and a board member of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Economic Growth Partnership.
Daniel Akinbosede is a PhD researcher at the University of Sussex, studying a protein that allows Neisseria bacteria to highjack iron from human blood as a nutrient source. He is a keen advocate for anti-racism in STEM teaching and research, as well as the academy in general. In 2019, he was a co-founder of the Sussex Race Equity Advocate programme, which is designed to give voice and power to ethnic minority students as they fight to address academia’s many racial inequalities.
Baroness Valerie Amos is the master of University College Oxford. She was the first black woman to serve in a British cabinet as secretary of state for international development and went on to become leader of the House of Lords. Baroness Amos served as under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs at the United Nations, as well as UK High Commissioner to Australia. In addition to being a patron of the Amos Bursary, she sits on the board of the Mastercard Foundation, the UN Foundation, and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. She is also a board member of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, Institute of Government, and Grenfell Foundation.
Maddalaine Ansell is a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She began her career as a lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer before joining the civil service on the fast stream. Her civil service appointments included the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Home Office, DIUS and BIS, and she has worked on a range of policy areas including higher and further education. Ansell then acted as chief executive of University Alliance for four years, and has been director of education at the British Council since 2018.
Dr Graeme Atherton is director of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), the national professional organisation for widening access to higher education in the UK with over 100 universities as members. He also leads AccessHE, a network of over 200 schools, colleges and universities working together to increase access to higher education in London. He holds visiting professorships at Amity Business School in India and Sunway University in Malaysia, and is a board member of the National Union of Students (NUS). He has produced over 150 publications and conference papers on accessing higher education and social mobility.
Simon Baker has been data editor at THE since May 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.
Dr Brian Beatty’s primary areas of interest and research include social interaction in online learning, flipped classroom implementation, and developing instructional design theory for hybrid-flexible learning environments. At San Francisco State University (SFSU), Dr Beatty pioneered the development and evaluation of the HyFlex course design model for blended learning environments, implementing a student-directed hybrid approach to better support student learning. Previously he was associate vice-president of academic affairs operations at SFSU and has more than 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher, trainer, and instructional designer at schools, businesses, and the US Navy.
As CEO of London Higher, Dr Diana Beech is responsible for leading the organisation’s aim of being a voice for London’s universities and higher education colleagues. She joined London Higher from the University of Warwick, where she led the institution’s government affairs function. Dr Beech has previously worked in government as a policy adviser to three Ministers of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, prior to which she was the first director of policy and advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).
Before joining Liverpool in 2015, Professor Beer was vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. She is chair of the board of the Equality Challenge Unit and is the former vice-president of UUK, England and Northern Ireland. She was awarded a Damehood for services to higher education and equality and diversity in the New Year’s Honours list 2018.
With a career spanning more than 38 years, Sir David Bell has held a number of major posts across the education system. In 2012-2018, he was vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, prior to which he was permanent secretary at the Department for Education, serving four Secretaries of State and three Prime Ministers. He also served as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools and was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2011. Sir Bell is the non-executive chair of Karbon Homes, a trustee and advisory board member of the Higher Education Policy Institute, a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and a member of the Aldridge multi-academy trust.
Seeta Bhardwa has been student content editor at THE since 2017. She manages a network of student bloggers from all over the world who write about their experiences of studying at university, while creating student-focused content based on the THE rankings portfolio and writing comment and advice pieces on student issues. She was previously the deputy editor of Independent Nurse magazine and has a BA in English from the University of Reading.
Ellie Bothwell is rankings editor and international reporter at THE. She oversees editorial content for THE’s global series of rankings, including the flagship World University Rankings, and reports on all areas of internationalisation, including student and staff mobility, research and institutional partnerships, and branch campuses.
Professor Ben Brabon is internationally recognised as a pioneer of open online learning and as the convenor of the UK’s first undergraduate credit-bearing MOOC. Previously, as senior adviser and academic lead for arts, humanities and social sciences, he led Advance HE’s national research project, Building Higher Education Curricula Fit for the Future (2018), which examined the connections between the UK’s industrial strategy, 4IR and curriculum development in HEIs across the UK. He has recently held the role of director of learning and teaching and executive director of undergraduate programmes at the University of Surrey and has worked with the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency, British Academy, British Council, the UK’s Department for Education, Swedish Ministry of Education, and Flemish Ministry of Education in Brussels.
Sam Brenton is director of education, innovation and development at the University of London, where he is responsible for devising, designing and developing the university’s distance learning courses in partnership with member institutions across the federation.
Before joining the University of Leeds, Professor Simone Buitendijk was vice-provost of education and professor of maternal and child health at Imperial College London, and vice-rector at Leiden University. At Leiden, she was responsible for education, student affairs and diversity, and played a major role in the strategic leadership and direction of the university. In addition to strengthening the links between education and research, Professor Buitendijk has led large change programmes, worked to further equality, diversity and inclusion and has extensive experience of driving the digital and online learning agenda.
Deveral Capps is dean of Leeds Law School at Leeds Beckett University. He has been involved in higher education for 25 years and previously taught on undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional courses and published widely on legal education, legal skills, and eCommerce law. He is an ardent supporter of online learning.
Manoj Chawla has been helping global customers in higher education, primary and secondary school, and continuing education as to how digital solutions can help drive efficiency, improve productivity, and enhance the experience of stakeholders. His areas of expertise include helping customers define and develop Learner-centric digital solutions, digital strategy and process consulting. A Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), he also holds an MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Management and an engineering degree in electronics.
Sarah Chaytor established UCL’s flagship academic-policy engagement initiative, UCL Public Policy, and was a co-founder of the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN). Her role at UCL includes overseeing the UCL Public Policy programme and building UCL’s capacity to engage with public policy, advising the vice-provost of research on strategy and research policy, leading on external policy engagement, and managing strategic projects. She is the co-lead for the £10 million Capabilities in Academic-Policy Engagement project. Prior to joining UCL, Chaytor worked in policy roles with the Russell Group, the Wellcome Trust and Universities UK as a parliamentary researcher.
Professor Thomas Crick is a professor of digital education and policy at Swansea University. While his disciplinary background is in computer science, he has been heavily involved in science, innovation and digital policy in Wales and the UK over the past ten years. He chaired the Welsh Government’s review of the ICT curriculum in 2013 and was a member of the expert panel for the Welsh Government’s 2019 Review of Digital Innovation and the Future of Work. Professor Crick is a Commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales, as well as a non-executive director of Swansea Bay University Health Board.
Sara Custer is associate editor (curation) 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 Sofie Emmertsen is an executive education consultant working with the Norwegian digital assessment solution provider, Inspera. She specialises in digital assessment and has helped to pioneer the transformation of assessment methods within higher education in northern Europe. Using her experience as an academic researcher and lecturer in the UK as well as Denmark, she works across all institutional levels – from management and academics to administrative and IT services – to digitise assessment processes securely and efficiently.
Dr Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski is vice-president of research intelligence on the Global Strategic Networks team at Elsevier. she builds and maintains long-term relationships with research institutions and funders, and focuses on how insights from data and analytics guide strategic planning for research institutions, funders, and science policy organisations. Actively involved in promoting women leaders in STEM, Dr Falk-Krzesinski is co-chair of the Gender Working Group at Elsevier and co-author on Elsevier’s two global gender reports. She previously served as editor-in-chief of the magazine of the Association for Women in Science.
Professor Neil Ferguson is the founding director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit for Modelling and Health Economics, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics at Imperial College London. His research aims to understand the epidemiological factors shaping infectious disease transmission in human and animal populations. He informs governments, the European Union, World Health Organization and other public health agencies on emerging infections and infectious disease modelling. Professor Ferguson was elected as a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2005 and awarded an OBE in 2001 for services to epidemiology and the control of infectious diseases.
Deborah Gabriel is founder and director of Black British Academics, a global network of scholars focused on addressing racial inequalities in higher education and society. Key areas of focus are transformation in teaching, learning and research, with an emphasis on equity and social justice. She created and leads the Ivory Tower Project on race and gender inequality in academia and developed the 3D Pedagogy Framework to decolonise, democratise and diversify the higher education curriculum. Her current areas of focus are critical leadership and collaborative social justice.
Professor Elizabeth Gammie is head of Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University. During her tenure, Aberdeen Business School has achieved AACSB accreditation and was the first institution in the world to achieve BGA accreditation. Aberdeen Business School was also shortlisted in the THE Awards UK as Business School of the Year in 2019 and 2020. Professor Gammie was recently named as Business and Public Sector Leader of the Year at the Women in Accounting and Finance Awards.
Kostis Giannidis is president of the Erasmus Student Network, the leading organisation in the field of student mobility, representing more than 350,000 international students annually. Kostis is a passionate advocate of the Erasmus generation, and believes that learning mobility is the driving force for the creation of a better world, enriched with empowered young people. He strives to ensure that international students receive quality education abroad and are equipped with the skills to become the leaders of tomorrow.
John Gill has been editor at THE since 2012. He has previously held roles as news editor, deputy news editor and reporter with the magazine. Gill has been closely involved in the development of THE’s World University Rankings portfolio over the last eight years, and was called to give evidence to the recent parliamentary inquiry into teaching metrics.
Chris Havergal has been news editor at THE since 2017. Previously he was a reporter who covered areas including teaching and learning, access, and internationalisation. Havergal started his career as local government correspondent at the Cambridge News and holds a BA in history and an MA in medieval studies from the University of York.
Professor Stephen Heppell is a professor at The Felipe Segovia Chair of Learning Innovation at Camilo José Cela University. His "eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground" approach, coupled with a vast portfolio of effective large scale projects over three decades, have established him internationally as a widely and fondly recognised leader in the fields of learning, new media and technology.
Mike Highfield is principal educational consultant at Blackboard, where he delivers Blackboard Academy’s family of professional development courses, the “Digital Teaching and Learning Series”. Highfield became a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2013 and has a background in UK higher education and instructional design.
As an associate professor at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York, Dr Glenn Hurst’s research focuses on green and sustainable chemistry education together with using social media and game-based learning strategies to transform the student learning experience. He was shortlisted by THE in the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year category in 2018, won the 2019 American Chemical Society Award for Incorporating Sustainability into Chemistry Education, won the Royal Society of Chemistry Higher Education Teaching Award in 2020, and was recognised by Jisc as one of the top 10 social media superstars in higher education.
Janet Ilieva is the founder and director of Education Insight, a research consultancy which specialises in international higher education. Her research focuses on global student mobility, national policies and regulatory environment for higher education engagement, university partnerships and transnational education. Ilieva regularly undertakes research on higher education engagement for government departments, national agencies and international organisations in Europe and Asia and the university sector. Her most recent research studies institutional frameworks for global engagement and sustainable development.
Since taking up his role leading the representative body of the UK’s 137 universities, Alistair Jarvis’ primary focus has been on influencing policy, political engagement, relationships with members and organisational leadership. He is also a member of the joint ministerial taskforce on research and knowledge exchange sustainability, a member of the government’s high-level stakeholder working group on EU exit, universities and research and sits on the steering group of the Industrial Strategy Council prosperity mapping project. Previously, Jarvis was deputy chief executive and director of external relations at UUK. Before joining UUK in 2013 he was a director at the University of Birmingham.
Professor Deborah Johnston is a political economist and became pro vice-chancellor of education at London South Bank University in 2020. She was previously pro director of learning and teaching at SOAS University of London from 2016 to 2020, where she supported and embedded the Decolonising SOAS approach at an institutional level. Professor Johnston has split her career across academia, charities and government, and has worked and lived in a number of sub-Saharan African countries. She obtained Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2019.
Dr Katie Lamb obtained her MChem in 2013 and her PhD in green chemistry in 2017 from the University of York, researching alternative, novel, and sustainable carbon dioxide utilisation (CDU) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) methodologies. From 2018 to 2020, she worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York, where she conducted research into sustainable catalysis, CDU, cyclic carbonate synthesis, as well as chemistry and science education. Since 2020, Dr Lamb has been working as a technician for the Central Teaching Laboratories at the University of Liverpool.
Professor Diana Laurillard is based within the Knowledge Lab at UCL. 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 conducting research into MOOCs for professional education in challenging contexts, learning design, and digital games for dyscalculia. Previous roles include head of the E-learning Strategy Unit at the UK’s Department for Education and Skills and pro vice-chancellor of learning technologies at The Open University.
In his role as head of education for Europe at Western Union Business Solutions, Dino Leo leads a team that delivers the payment method of choice for more than 70% of the UK’s higher education sector. He is a sector specialist and offers a holistic approach to the operational and strategic finance needs of universities, to support the development of institutional income strategies. Leo leverages partnerships in the public and private sectors to offer solutions for US and European loan disbursements, treasury hedging requirements, accounts payable systems and incoming tuition fee collection and reconciliation.
Edward Lindeman works closely with UK media partners, including publishers, educators, and institutions on how to use TikTok as part of their wider content and social media strategy. He was one of the original TikTok UK team that launched the platform in Europe in 2018 and has been working closely with universities over the past year.
Associate dean of research and knowledge exchange and professor of equality and diversity management
Oxford Brookes Business School
Professor Simonetta Manfredi is a professor of equality and diversity management, and associate dean of research and knowledge exchange at the Oxford Brookes Business School. Her research interests and expertise are primarily focused on equality issues in the higher education sector and research careers. She is currently leading a two-year project funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to increase the representation of women researchers in STEM as founders and co-founders of university spinout companies.
Prior to joining the National Centre, Dr Joe Marshall held a number of positions across government and university organisations. As an academic specialising in government education policy and practice, he worked with several international agencies, including UNESCO, WHO and the European Parliament. A researcher at the University of Manchester, he went on to hold senior lectureship positions at Liverpool Hope University and University of Worcester before working for UK Sport (the government agency for elite sport) and then the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Professor Peter Mathieson was appointed principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in 2018. He was formerly the 15th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong. His previous posts include foundation professor of renal medicine at the University of Bristol, honorary consultant nephrologist at the North Bristol NHS Trust, head of the Department of Clinical Science at North Bristol, director of research and development for the North Bristol NHS Trust, and dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol.
Anna McKie is a reporter covering teaching, learning and student issues, as well as higher education in Africa and the Middle East. Previously she was a reporter for Research Fortnight and news editor of the Brixton Bugle. She has a BA in contemporary history and an MA in modern European history from the University of Sussex.
Director of human resources and organisational development
University of Dundee
Pamela Milne was appointed as the University of Dundee’s human resources director in 2002 and has since introduced strategic and operational change within a complex and multi-disciplined academic environment. Her key areas of expertise include organisational strategic development, employee relations and engagement, strategy and policy development, and implementation. She is a fellow of the CIPD, serves as chair of the UHR Scotland group, and is a member of the UHR Executive Committee. She served on the UCEA Scottish Committee for 16 years before stepping down in 2020.
Dr Sandra Moffett is a reader in business analytics, and the head of the Ulster University Business School on the Magee campus. She is a core member of the Business and Management Research Institute, contributing to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework. Her expertise on knowledge management has resulted in her acknowledgement as one of the UK’s leading authors in this field, with over 100 publications and several research awards and citations for her work. Dr Moffett supports various British and Irish companies in designing, implementing, and measuring the performance of technical systems through consultancy and knowledge transfer projects.
John Morgan reports on politics and government policy, higher education funding, university governance and private provision in the sector as well as higher education in Asia. He completed a PhD in English literature at the University of Leeds before spending three years as a reporter at the Cambridge News, where he was health correspondent. John was winner of the outstanding higher education journalism category at the 2018 CIPR Education Journalism Awards.
Dr Patricia Muñoz-Escalona previously held academic positions at Simón Bolívar University (1992-2013), the University of Strathclyde (2013-2016), and the University of the West of Scotland (2016-2018). She is now a senior lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, teaching Level 1 and Level 2 undergraduate students, as well as programme leader for mechanical engineering. She is a Chartered Engineer, a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Mineral and Mining, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Matei Neagos has been leading extensive ‘people-first’, ‘digital-first’ product design programmes for more than 10 years across finance, retail, healthcare, IoT and education. He is currently responsible for more than 90 client experiences for Softvision, which are characterised by advanced data engineering skills, deep industry knowledge and delivery expertise. Neagos holds a degree from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca.
Magnus Nerheim is project manager and advisor in edtech at the University of Bergen's Learning Lab. A long-term goal is to bridge the gap between digital tools and good pedagogical practice, acting as an innovator together with teachers, students, pedagogues, administration and technical staff.
Dr Joanna Newman joined the Association of Commonwealth Universities in April 2017 and is also a senior research fellow in the history faculty of King’s College London. Before taking up her current role, she served as vice-principal (international) of King’s College London, director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now Universities UK International) and head of higher education at the British Library. In 2014, Dr Newman was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.
Peter O’Brien was appointed as executive director of Yorkshire Universities (YU) in 2018. Prior to joining YU, he was the deputy local growth consultant at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). He is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University, and a lay trustee on the board of the University of Sunderland Students’ Union. O’Brien has worked in local and regional development in the north of England for over 20 years, including holding senior roles with a local enterprise partnership, city-region partnership, and regional assembly.
Sir Kenneth Olisa is founder and chairman of Restoration Partners, the boutique technology merchant bank and architects of Inogesis formerly known as The Virtual Technology Cluster model. His technology career spans over 30 years commencing with IBM from whom he won a scholarship while at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. In 1992, after twelve years as a senior executive at Wang Labs in the US and Europe, Sir Kenneth founded Interregnum, the technology merchant bank. He was elected as a fellow of the British Computer Society in 2006, and in 2018 was appointed as non-executive director on the board of Huawei.
Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin is vice-president and vice-principal (international) and professor of security, leadership and development at King’s College London. Previous roles have included founding director of the African Leadership Centre, which aims to build the next generation of African scholars and analysts generating cutting-edge knowledge for security and development in Africa; and director of the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group at King’s College London (2003-13). Prior to this, she worked in the Office of the United Nations as the special representative of the secretary-general for children and armed conflict.
Dr Ale Palermo is a former academic and researcher in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. She joined the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2002 to manage their science and technology programs, focusing on sustainable development across Africa, India, and Latin America. Dr Palermo currently leads the Royal Society of Chemistry’s inclusion and diversity strategy and its implementation. Some examples of her strategic reports include: Diversity Landscape in the Chemical Sciences (2018), Breaking the Barriers (2018); LGBT+ climate for the physical sciences (2019); Is publishing in the chemical sciences gender biased? (2019), and A framework for action in scientific publishing (2020).
Professor Nicola Phillips joined King’s College London in 2017, where she leads on all aspects of the university’s strategy for excellence and innovation in education and the student experience and holds an academic position as professor of political economy. Prior to this, she worked at the Universities of Warwick, Manchester and Sheffield, held multiple visiting fellowships and professorships, and undertook the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2019. She is a past chair of the British International Studies Association, received the award of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2016, and the International Studies Association’s J. Ann Tickner Award in 2018.
Deputy vice-chancellor of international development
Dr David Pilsbury is responsible for all of Coventry University’s international activities, and leads a global engagement agenda that has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and EAIE’s premier award. He holds board-level positions at the China-Britain Business Council & JISC, and was the founding chief executive officer of the Worldwide Universities Network, as well as the HEFCE head of research policy and assistant director R&D at Cambridge University Hospital. Dr Pilsbury spent a number of years in strategic consultancy and investment banking after completing a DPhil at the University of Oxford.
Michael Priestley is a second year PhD student at Durham University studying a whole university approach to student mental wellbeing. He is also a member of the SMaRteN student mental health research network and sits on the Student Minds student advisory committee.
Co-director of the Centre for Management Education, Surrey Business School
University of Surrey
Dr Christine Rivers is co-director of the Centre for Management Education at Surrey Business School, and a consultant in management education. She is an expert in staff development and blended learning design, in particular usability in virtual learning environments. Her expertise and knowledge of developing staff and designing meaningful blended learning experiences has been instrumental in supporting the transition of Surrey during Covid-19. Dr Rivers is also SIG chair for knowledge and learning, British Academy of Management, and senior fellow Advance HE. She is associate editor for the Journal of Management Education and reviewer for the journal Academy of Management, Learning and Education.
Professor Alice Roberts is a biological anthropologist, author and broadcaster. She is interested in the evolution, structure and function of humans, and our place in the wider environment. Professor Roberts has presented a wide range of biology and archaeology programmes on television, including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us, Prehistoric Autopsy and Digging for Britain, as well as several Horizon programmes on the BBC. She has also written nine popular science books, including The Incredible Human Journey, Evolution: The Human Story, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, and her latest - Tamed: Ten species that changed our world.
Dr Salim M. Salim is the academic lead for internationalisation at Swansea University’s College of Engineering. He has extensive experience in transnational education and international collaboration, and helped establish the engineering department at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia in 2013 before joining the University of Dundee in 2015. Dr Salim is a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He is also a member of the UK Fluid Networks Urban Fluid Mechanics Group with research interests in Computational Fluid Dynamics and Fluid-Structure Interactions.
Associate director of digital engagement and library services
University of Westminster
Professor Gunter Saunders is a professor at the University of Westminster and has worked in higher education for over 30 years, teaching and researching in microbial genetics and developing approaches for the integration of technology into teaching. He is a principal fellow of the Higher Education Academy, recognised for his contributions to the support and development of learning and teaching, including classroom design. Saunders is currently leading the university’s development of capability for technology-enhanced working and learning.
Former minister of state for universities, research, innovation and skills
A former Minister attending Cabinet, Chris Skidmore has served across four departments. He was twice Minister of State for universities, research, innovation and skills, during which secured the government’s commitment to double its R&D budget. In 2019, he was appointed interim Energy and Climate Change Minister, where he signed the UK commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions into law by 2050 and secured the UK Presidency of the UN’s COP26, due to take place in Glasgow in 2021. He has been MP for Kingswood since he was first elected in 2010 and continues to pursue his initial career as a historian, writing Tudor and medieval history.
As director of student life and well-being at the University of Bristol, Claire Slater oversees residential life, well-being and accommodation services, and is introducing Wellbeing Access, an initial triage service ensuring that students can easily access appropriate services and support. She is responsible for leading on the delivery of a range of inclusive campaigns, activities and events, providing opportunities for students to make connections and build communities through the university and the Bristol Students' Union. She is also a member of the AMOSSHE executive board and was a member of the UUK Working Group on tackling sexual violence.
Dr Julie Smith is a clinical psychologist who shares bite-sized mental health and motivational videos online, with her biggest audience on TikTok. After running her own private practice, she set out to reach a bigger, young audience by uploading both informative and engaging self-help videos. During Covid-19, Dr Smith’s audience on TikTok has grown astronomically as young people relate to the videos she makes about mental health and put her advice to use.
In 2020, Professor Mike Sutcliffe joined TEDI-London, an institution founded by Arizona State University, King's College London, and University of New South Wales Sydney with the aim to broaden traditional approaches to attracting and educating the next generation of engineers. He leads the design, development and implementation of the academic programme and student experience. Professor Sutcliffe is vice-president and president-elect of the Engineering Professors’ Council and was previously pro vice-chancellor and dean of science, engineering and computing at Kingston University, and head of the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at the University of Manchester.
Maruška Svašek is a reader in anthropology at Queen’s University Belfast, where her main research interests include migration, material culture, art, and emotions. In her most recent work, she seeks to bring these strands together, exploring the mobility and agency of humans, artefacts, and images in an era of intensifying globalisation and transnational connectivity. Her publications include Ethnographies of Movement, Sociality and Space: Place-Making in the New Northern Ireland (2018) and Creativity in Transition: Politics and Aesthetics of Cultural Production Across the Globe (2016), and she co-edited the book series Material Mediations: People and Things in a World of Movement.
Anthony Tattersall is vice-president (EMEA) at Coursera. He has more than 20 years of experience in the technology and corporate learning space. Before joining Coursera in 2019, he held several leadership positions as area vice-president (UK) at Cornerstone OnDemand, chief sales officer at Launchpad Recruits, sales director (EMEA) at Cogeco Peer 1, and UK country manager at Kronos. He has an MBA from Durham University Business School.
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran is the academic lead and chief executive of Canterbury Christ Church University. Since 2013, he has led the institution forward in a number of areas, including the establishment of the School of Engineering, Technology and Design, and a School of Medicine. Professor Thirunamachandran was chair of the Higher Education Academy in 2015-2018, UCAS Board member in 2010-2013, and a member of the Universities UK Board since 2017. He is a non-executive director of the Medway NHS Foundation Trust and chair of MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities.
Prior to starting her MSc, Maxine Thomas-Asante served as co-president of democracy and education at SOAS University of London Students’ Union in the 2019-2020 academic year following her graduation. Her priorities focused on championing black liberation across the institution. During her final year as an undergraduate, she co-launched 'Bridging the Gap: a Student Collective'. This initiative raised awareness of the racial attainment gap among students, gathered qualitative research through focus groups, proposed solutions for the law department, and launched a professional BAME mentoring scheme.
Vice-president of academic and government strategic alliances
Prior to joining Elsevier in 2016, Dr Lesley Thompson worked for 26 years at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, rising to the position of research director, with responsibility for the strategy and delivery of the scientific programme, and an annual budget of £800 million. She is a champion of early-career researchers, interdisciplinary research and diversity, and is a member of the Royal Society Diversity group. She is also a member of the Oxfordshire LEP Innovation Board. In 2016, Dr Thompson was awarded an MBE for her services to research.
Dr Beth Thompson is the head of policy and advocacy for the UK and EU at the Wellcome Trust. She has led Wellcome’s UK and EU policy and advocacy activities since 2017, covering issues including Brexit, research investment and emerging technology. She also leads Wellcome’s new programme on research culture. In 2017, Dr Thompson was awarded an MBE for services to science for successfully advocating against amendments to the EU General Data Protection Regulation. She holds a PhD from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, and a degree in natural sciences (biochemistry) from the University of Cambridge.
Dr Aneta Tunariu is dean of the school of psychology at the University of East London, a large and diverse establishment committed to excellence in pedagogical practice and the provision of education and training relevant to students, future employers and life-communities of today. Alongside her role as a professor of applied psychology, Dr Tunariu is also a Chartered Psychologist, and a seasoned lecturer with specialism in the ‘psychology of relating’. Her academic expertise, applied practice, and research are closely informed by existential philosophy, social psychology, and positive psychology coaching.
As chief technical advisor (EMEA) Mark Woods provides advice and guidance to executive teams, policymakers and boards to help organisations get more value from data. Before joining Splunk he co-founded AMPLYFI and as CTO created and scaled the start-up’s proprietary AI analytics technology. He has also worked commercialising novel integrated hardware/software solutions at British Telecom, Bentley, and various energy firms. Woods spent the first decade of his career as a British Army engineering officer, specialising in new technology introduction, strategic planning and spending time in hot and cold places that would not be on most people’s bucket list.
David Woolley is director of student and community engagement at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), and co-chair of the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO). At NTU, he is the strategic lead for the agendas of social mobility and widening participation. His responsibilities include data analysis, research and evaluation, learner analytics, outreach across the student lifecycle, community engagement, and volunteering.
Academic director of learning and teaching enhancement
University of East Anglia
Professor Kay Yeoman is an academic director at the University of East Anglia where she is responsible for learning and teaching enhancement. This role has seen her establish institution-wide lecture capture as well as e-marking systems through Blackboard as the VLE. She has established training for staff in the design and delivery of online learning and developed a course for students to enable them to prepare for their learning in the current academic year. She has led a project to establish digital champions across the university which consist of staff, not only from the academic side of the university but also professional services.
Director of human resources and organisational development
Sheffield Hallam University
Umar Zamman has responsibility for human resources, organisational development, leadership development, payroll, pensions, and the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda for more than 5,500 staff and is part of the senior leadership group. Previously, he has held senior executive roles in higher education, the NHS, fire and rescue services, policing and the Civil Service where he was an adviser in private office to the Home Secretary and senior civil servants. He has led national and international projects on culture change, leadership and EDI and is focused on integrating EDI into all HR and OD practices.
Our high quality speakers are essential to ensuring our events engage audiences and provide relevant, up-to-date and innovative content for our delegates. If you are interested in speaking at an event, get in touch.