Appointment as Chair of the Research Councils UK Digital Economy Theme Programme Advisory Board


I have recently been appointed Chair of the Research Councils UK Digital Economy (DE) Theme Programme Advisory Board (PAB). I take over the role from Brian Collins, Professor of Engineering Policy and Director of the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures at University College London.

My appointment builds on previous work that I have conducted for the DE Theme. This includes: serving on the 12-person panel that conducted the 2012 impact review of the DE Theme investment; involvement in an additional stream of DE research undertaken under the banner of “digital personhood” (I helped identify the scope of the investment and served as a mentor at the sandpit meeting where project ideas were germinated); and reviewing grant proposals and other panel work. I was first appointed a member of the PAB in 2014.

Research Councils UK wallpaperThe DE Theme supports research to realise the transformational impact of digital technologies on aspects of community life, cultural experiences, future society, and the economy. Its mission is to:

  • Build UK research capacity and expertise to create and take advantage of opportunities that arise from the Digital Economy
  • Add value by supporting cross-council, trans-disciplinary research
  • Promote user engagement throughout our activities
  • Deliver this through high quality research, people and thought leadership.

The role of the PAB is to advise the DE Theme’s Executive Committee (whose membership includes EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC and Innovate UK) on the Theme’s research direction and balance of the Theme.

The PAB meets three times a year with the following remit:

  1. To advise the DE team on research and training strategy across the Theme’s remit, the balance between research and training activities and the cross‐disciplinary balance of the Theme;
  2. To monitor the progress of the Theme, via regular reports from the Executive Committee, and alert the DE team to new and emerging opportunities;
  3. To input to the evaluation of the achievements of the Theme;
  4. To advise the team on areas or issues that need further exploration or investigation and advise on the transfer of the outcomes of the research to the user community;
  5. To help the Executive Committee develop input on specific topics as requested by Research Council leadership teams;
  6. To engage with DE projects and be called upon for peer review and evaluation.

I am looking forward to working with the other members of the PAB. The full membership comprises a range of academics and industry specialists with interests and expertise in supporting the work of the Theme:

  • Chair, Hazel Hall, Professor of Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Alan Brown, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Surrey
  • Mike Chantler, Professor of Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University
  • Ian Hargreaves, Professor of Digital Economy, Cardiff University
  • Andrew Hudson-Smith, Director, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London
  • Siân John, Directory of Security Strategy, Symantec Corporation
  • Matt Jones, Professor and Head of Department of Computer Science, Swansea University
  • Wendy Mars, Senior Director Datacentre EMEAR, Cisco
  • Paul Nightingale, Senior Lecturer in Science & Technology Policy, SPRU, University of Sussex
  • Mark Plumbley, Professor of Signal Processing, University of Surrey
  • Clare Reddington, Creative Director, Watershed
  • m.c.schraefel, Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance, University of Southampton
  • Chris Speed, Chair of Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh
  • Gabriel Straub, Head of Commercial Science, Tesco

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