Digifest 2023 keynote speakers

Professor Sue Black OBE

Professor of computer science and technology evangelist, Durham University

Sue is a digital skills expert, social entrepreneur, consultant and international keynote speaker. She is a successful social media campaigner with expertise in leadership and the equality challenges faced by the tech industry. A champion for women in computing, she founded BCSWomen the UK’s first online network for women in tech, and #techmums, a social enterprise which empowers mums and their families through technology.

Pascal Bornet

Author, expert in AI and automation, and tech influencer

Pascal is a pioneer in intelligent automation (IA) and is regularly ranked as one of the top ten global experts in the fields of artificial intelligence and automation. He is also a senior executive with 20+ years of experience leading digital transformations for corporates and a member of the Forbes Technology Council. He is the founder and former leader of the “AI and Automation” practices at McKinsey and Ernst & Young (EY).

Learning, teaching and resources track

The tools to help learners thrive

Over the last three years, we’ve shown our remarkable ability to adapt and persevere through extraordinary circumstances. Harnessing problem solving, collaboration, and technology, we’ve more than proved ourselves capable of delivering engaging student experiences in an ever-changing landscape.

Let’s continue this journey of exploration and discovery. By creating a supportive community, developing our creative thinking and using new technologies we can be prepared for anything. Digifest’s learning, teaching and resources track will equip you with the tools to deliver rich, forward-thinking content to inspire your learners in your day-to-day job – and beyond. 

View learning, teaching and resources track programme sessions.

Professor Edward Peck CBE

Vice-chancellor, Nottingham Trent University

Edward's academic interests encompass public policy and organisational leadership. He is a fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences and deputy chair of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). In June 2022 he was appointed as the Department for Education’s initial higher education student support champion. He has been working with Jisc on the development of student analytics and the impact these will have on the design and delivery of student support services. 

Research track

Understanding new perspectives

For the first time, Digifest will feature a dedicated research track, extending inspiration, insight and support to researchers and research support staff. From methods to management, digital technology is fundamentally changing every aspect of research. It has never been more important for researchers to be at the heart of the conversation. 

Within an existing context of evolving policy and funding changes, COVID-19 has placed unprecedented new demands on the sector. We need creative approaches to guide our collective response. Together, we can explore opportunities to collaborate, and develop new ideas and insights to face the challenges ahead. 

View research track programme sessions.

Professor Will Drury

Challenge director: driving the electric revolution, Innovate UK

Will joined UKRI from engineering and environmental consultancy, Ricardo, where he was their global technical expert for power electronics and their head of electronics and electric machine products. At Ricardo, Will also worked extensively in business development. Will holds a PhD from the University of Bristol in electrical engineering and is a chartered engineer and fellow of the IET. He sits on the IET Transport Sector Executive, previously holding the position of deputy-chair.  

Leadership and culture track

A catalyst for change

Effective digital leadership at any level can inspire cultural change and empower teams to embrace digital transformation. Our leadership and culture track aims to support every type of leader within higher and further education.

Whether you are just starting out in your career or you are more experienced, we’ll help you develop a clear vision for change. Through effective digital leadership and skills, you can create a culture of innovation at your organisation and prepare the way for ground-breaking, meaningful change. 

View senior leadership track programme sessions.

Lev Gonick

Educator, technologist, and smart city architect

Lev is the chief information officer at Arizona State University and cofounder of DigitalC, the non-profit organisation building equitable access to digital services, resources and tools in Cleveland, Ohio. From 2001 to 2013, Lev was CIO at Case Western Reserve University, where he and his colleagues were internationally recognised for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next-generation network projects, and organisational development. Inside Business Magazine named Lev one of their Power 100 in 2015.