UCISA24 Leadership Conference

Booking Open

Primary Sponsor


13 March 2024

14 March 2024

15 March 2024

Book Before

26 February 2024


EICC, Edinburgh

About the Event

UCISA24 Leadership Conference

We are returning to the iconic City of Edinburgh for the 2024 UCISA Leadership Conference.

Having nurtured some of the greatest minds in subjects such as philosophy, architecture and literature for centuries, Edinburgh is a city renowned for inspiration and innovation. Often referred to as the ‘Festival City’, Edinburgh offers a year-round programme of arts and cultural events.

Be sure to save the dates and bookmark this page for updates on our flagship conference over the next few months!

Want to know why you should attend then watch this video recorded at UCISA22






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Dr Eleanor Drage

Senior Research Fellow

University of Cambridge

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Penny Mallory

former British Rally Championship driver

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Emma Horrell

User Experience Manager

University of Edinburgh

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Jason Oliver

Chief Digital Transformation Officer

University of Sussex

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David Goddard

Head of Digital Student Experience (Information Services Division)

University College London

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David Goddard, Head of Digital Student Experience at UCL. David has 20 years experience working in the HE sector and his goal is to improve the life and learning outcomes of all students using digital technology.

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Ben Watson

Head of Digital Accessibility


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Ben Watson, Head of Digital Accessibility at UCL. He has experience of working with all UK education sectors (primary, secondary, further and higher education) and many years experience of working to improve both the physical and digital accessibility of education organisations.

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Andy Smith


University College London

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Andy Smith Joined UCL in May 2020 as CIO and before that he was the Global CIO for Arm from 2014 to 2019. Arm is one the world’s leading technology companies with its processor designs in more than 150 billion chips including almost every phone in the world. Prior to this Andy spent 5 years as a Government CIO working for one of the agencies in the defence sector. Before that he worked for 20 years with BP in a variety of roles and locations around the world including 6 years in Alaska. Andy lives in Cambridge with his wife and two daughters. He is a keen sportsman who has recently discovered the game of Real Tennis.

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Simon Corbett


Northumbria University

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Simon’s core day job is to provide strategic leadership and management of the University’s IT Service. He is also responsible for the vision and delivery of the IT Strategy and acts as an advisor and advocate with key stakeholders, to maximise opportunities for innovation and technology change across the University. Simon is responsible for all the technology infrastructure across the University, including the network, storage, servers, and end user computers ensuring that these are resilient, reliable and secure for all staff and students. He is responsible for the technical customer support, to provide a responsive customer-focused service to all staff and students and the delivery of multiple technical change programmes to support the University strategy and vision.

Simon is responsible for defining and delivering the IT Strategy and service that will deliver the technology elements of the business outcomes set within the wider University strategy. At University Executive, Simon supports colleagues as to how technology can support achievement of organisational wide ambitions, providing resilient infrastructure enabling business outcomes around teaching, research, and Knowledge Exchange.

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James Crooks

Chief Information Officer

Durham University

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Deborah Green



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Deborah joined UCISA as CEO in May of 2019, bringing with her a wealth of marketing and Higher Education experience, most recently as Director of Student Recruitment at the University of Hull following five years as Chief Executive of Marketing Leeds and 5 years at Leeds Beckett University, where she was a member of the Executive Board. She is no stranger to leading member organisations, having led the Law Society’s regional team earlier in her career, supporting 14,500 solicitors in Yorkshire and the North East and introducing a wealth of new initiatives and services, resulting in her receiving the Yorkshire Enterprise Award and being recognised as Yorkshire Lawyer of the year in 2007 for her services to the profession.

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Matt Searles

Vice President, Europe & Asia Pacific


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Matt Searles is a Vice President and responsible for Ellucian’s business in Europe and Asia Pacific. Matt is passionate about enabling digital transformation and student success, having worked in the technology industry for 25 years primarily in the Higher Education sector.


David Conway

Deputy Technical Director

University of Sunderland

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David has been at Sunderland for over 24 years and, has the responsibility for technical support comprising University IT, Academic Technical Support, Information Governance, Cyber Security, Business Resilience, and Programme Management Office.

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Emma Jane Woodcock


York St John University

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John Butterworth

Director, Office of the CIO

King's College London

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John has led King’s approach to operating models and frameworks to professionalise IT. This has been key to our transformation and journey towards service excellence. Now BTS and HERM are here, King’s no longer “build our own” but we adopt frameworks supporting collaboration and accelerated service excellence within King’s and across the HE sector.

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Karen Bates

Deputy Chief Digital and Information Officer

London Business School

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Karen joined London Business School as Director of IT, Delivery Capability in Autumn 2021 to ensure successful delivery of their Digital Transformation. Prior to that Karen spent 7 years with the University of Portsmouth leading their technology portfolio. The first 20 Years of my career was across Local Government, latterly leading Business and Digital Transformation. 

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Linnea Williams

Director of Communications Technology

Stanford University

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Over more than a decade, Linnea Williams has leveraged her client focus, technical acumen, interpersonal skills and knowledge of design to create elegantly constructed, interactive online experiences at Stanford University. She has led the redesign of hundreds of websites including Stanford’s primary portals for: undergrads, grads, staff/faculty, alumni, and donors.

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Adrian Ellison

Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Information Officer

University of West London

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Adrian Ellison is Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor and CIO at the University West London, where he is a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive and responsible for Academic Administration, Academic Registry, Academic Quality and Standards, Library and IT services and the Institute for Policing Studies. He has been in UK higher education for 24 years at four universities. Adrian is Chair of UCISA and a fellow of the RSA. He has written about and spoken widely on the use of technology and analytics in the HE sector.

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Gareth Davies

Stakeholder Engagement Manager


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Gareth Davies, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at RNIB. Gareth has worked for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) for over 7 years. He has held several roles focused on improving the accessibility of physical and digital environments for blind and partially sighted people in sectors such as health, retail, sport, and transport. Gareth was registered blind himself ten years ago and brings his lived experience to the projects he is involved in.

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Kate Swanborg

SVP, Technology Communications and Strategic Alliances


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Kate Swanborg is SVP of Technology Communications and Strategic Alliances for DreamWorks Animation. She is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the studio’s worldwide technology communications and business-to-business alliance efforts on behalf of the studio’s technology partners.

In her role, Kate promotes DreamWorks’ dedication to leveraging innovative technologies that enable the studio’s filmmakers and artists and provide the foundation for new technology business initiatives. She is responsible for identifying and managing technology alliances and integrated co-marketing and branding campaigns with the studio’s technology partners. Collaborating closely with the studio and strategic alliance partner executive leadership teams, Kate ensures that DreamWorks delivers consistent and compelling technology messages through a variety of mediums including presentations, press collateral and studio showcases. A practiced public speaker, Kate is frequently requested to provide keynote addresses to further DreamWorks’ business messaging.

Prior to her current role, Kate served as the studio’s Technology Production Manager where she helped develop strategies and action plans for producing animated feature films. She also managed the integration of major production technology solutions, such as stereoscopic 3D and a full re-architecture of the studio’s proprietary tool sets.

Kate earned a MFA from the University of California, San Diego and a BA from Western Michigan University.

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Fraser Muir

Global Director of Information Services

Heriot-Watt University

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Fraser Muir is Global Director of Information Services at Heriot-Watt University and leads the provision of a converged information service provision to the University's 5 campuses. This includes library, technology support, infrastructure, network, security, research support and technology enhanced learning. Fraser also leads the University digital strategy and digital transformation initiatives.

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Nick Condon

Managing Director


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Nick is a seasoned leader in the technology industry, bringing a unique understanding of digital from senior roles across government, media, higher education, and private enterprise. As a former Chief Digital Officer for the South Australian Government, Nick drove the development of the government's digital strategy, digital inclusion commitment and led its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Managing Director for Squiz, Nick leads a team of dedicated digital specialists, transforming the online experience of customers, citizens, and students for leading organizations across the UK and Europe.

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Yasir Rafi

Head of IT Service Delivery

Nottingham College

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Yasir has nearly 20 years’ experience of working across a variety of industries and market sectors with particular specialty in Higher and Further Education. He is known as a technological leader who can bring true value to teaching and learning environment and digital transformation through changes in core network infrastructure, audio video configurations and customer services skills to bring the best & secure experience for end users and stakeholders.

With a background in electronics and electrical engineering and Information Systems, Yasir earned his way up the ladder from a technician to technical lead, Audio Video Architect and Campus End User Manager at Kingston University London. He has been featured on number of AV channels and magazines for his achievements. Currently Yasir is heading the IT service delivery team at Nottingham College, supporting 25k+ students and 1.5k+ staff spread across complex and multi-campus environment.

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Manash Ray

Customer Success


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As the lead for Business Development and Customer Success in the UK at ManageEngine, I specialize in advancing our IAM and SIEM product suite. My expertise lies in fostering growth and ensuring exceptional service, cultivating strong client relationships, and steering innovative solutions in the tech landscape.

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Dan C


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Priyanka Sethi

Head of Sales and Strategy - Education

Tata Consultancy Services

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Priyanka leads strategy and sales, across all Education sectors. Priyanka builds high performing, and diverse global teams, to accelerate delivery of digital and business transformations. Passionate about education and development, Priyanka co-founded the Good Growth Community, was instrumental in driving the TCS Sustainathon, and actively promotes STEM through Founders4Schools and Maths4Girls.

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Professor Alison Honour

Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Canterbury Christ Church University

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Professor Alison Honour has been the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) since 2021. Prior to this, she held two Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of Faculty roles at Birmingham City University and De Montfort University.At CCCU, Alison's leadership priorities are focused on the successful implementation of the university's new Strategic Framework Vision 2030 and driving key initiatives to deliver an outstanding student experience and outstanding student outcomes. Alison's role includes reviewing the systems and processes to improve how the curriculum is developed, managed and monitored with the university's new partnership with CourseLoop and the rollout of its end to end Curriculum Management Platform.

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Harry Gooding

Solutions Director


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Harry is a Solutions Director at Hays, and leads Hays Skills, a new business in the Hays portfolio, supporting our customer network to develop skills development programmes that open up employment opportunities to ‘undiscovered talent’ communities. After beginning his career in recruitment, he then worked in VC backed start-ups and scale-ups for six years across two different portfolios before joining Hays.

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Amanda Whicher

Director UK&I Public Services Technology


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With over 15 years’ experience specialising in Technology recruitment across public services with a focus on Higher Education, Amanda has been fundamental in establishing the national Higher Education Technology business at Hays. Amanda has worked in partnership with a large number of CIOs across the sector to understand the challenges and work with universities to develop solutions that enable them better access to technology talent in a competitive landscape.

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Alex Goffe

Associate Director Technology

University of Manchester

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Alex Goffe is Associate Director Technology at the University of Manchester.

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Arthur Clune


University of Sheffield

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Arthur is CTO at the University of Sheffield where his role covers architecture, strategy, development, cloud and digital transformation. He has previously worked in Cyber Security, Research IT and Infrastructure within UK HE

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Tom Crummey

Director of IT Service and Operations

University College London

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Dr Tom Crummey is the Director of IT Service and Operations at University College London, looking after the main centrally provided Digital Platforms and Services (including Infrastructure and Enterprise Applications). Tom has been at UCL for 27 years working both in an Academic Department (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) and in Central Services. As part UCL's Modernise, Digitize and Differentiate strategy, Tom has led on the implementation of Agile ways of working in Service and Operations and also on migrating critical services to Cloud, whether as Software as a Service or Infrastructure as a Service.

Gavin McLachlan

Vice-Principal and Chief Information Officer, and Librarian to the University

University of Edinburgh

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Gavin is a Computer Science Graduate from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia and he also holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California with a major in international business.

For the past ten years Gavin has held senior IT posts in the UK Higher Education sector. Since February 2015 Gavin has held the post of Chief Information Officer and Librarian to the University of Edinburgh. At the University of Edinburgh he is responsible for the strategic development and efficient delivery of a wide range of services, including IT infrastructure, library collections, digital curation, and learning & teaching services. In addition, he plays a crucial role in ensuring that the University remains at the forefront of technological innovations that promote a world-class user experience for staff and students including a major University wide Digital Transformation programme; a replacement of all the core enterprise business systems and a University wide distance learning programme.

Gavin is also active as an advisor to Scottish government, acting as the co-chair to the Scottish Funding Council’s Higher and Further Education Sector ICT advisory group; as a member of the Scottish Digital Directorate’s Digital Public Services Sponsor group; and as the chair of the Scottish Government expert group on the Online Identity Assurance programme.

Previously, Mr McLachlan has worked at University College London (UCL) as Deputy Divisional Director for the Information Services Division and Director of Technology and Research IT Services.

Prior to working at UCL, he held a number of senior IT management positions in private sector organisations across the IT managed service, educational IT service, insurance and apparel industries spanning a 30 year career.

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Maggie Alphonsi

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The face of international women’s rugby, Maggie Alphonsi is one of the most well-known names in women’s team sports. Before announcing her international retirement she represented her country seventy-four times, scored twenty-eight tries, won a World Cup, and helped England win a record breaking seven consecutive Six Nations crowns.

Through her England rugby career, Maggie became a household name and a media professional. Since retiring she has commentated on live rugby matches and featured on the BBC’s Children in Need and The One Show.

Maggie was named the Sunday Times Sports Woman of the Year, won the title of Six Nations Grand Slam Winner six times, and was the first woman to win the Rugby Union Writers Club Player of the Year. She was awarded an MBE for her Services to Rugby.

In her speeches Maggie shares her experiences and considers working in a male dominated environment. She also looks at how to perform under pressure and overcome adversity.

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Lex Wilkinson

Enterprise Solutions Architect

Sheffield Hallam University

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Louw Labuschagne

Business Architect

Newcastle University

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Louw Labuschagne is a business architect at Newcastle University. He has over 20 years of experience in enterprise architecture, designing and implementing complex IT solutions for various industries. He is passionate about helping organizations achieve their strategic goals through innovative and scalable architectures. He has an MBA and a master's degree in computer science and several certifications in Enterprise Architecture & Information Security.

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Hannah Beeson

Head of IT Architecture

University of Surrey

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Rosie Coffey

Head of Enterprise Applications Group

University College Cork

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Paul Harness

Former CIO

Lancaster University

Event Schedule


Chair: James Crooks, CIO, Durham University


Exhibition opens

in the Lennox Suite

Registration open


Pre Conference session with AvePoint: Creating a data foundation for Microsoft 365 Copilot whilst mitigating upcoming storage challenges and risks of oversharing

In Menteith

Registration required


Newcomers session

Mat Flower, Assistant Director and Head of Digital Architecture, University of Wolverhampton


If this is your first UCISA conference, or your first for a while, please join us for a session describing how to make the most of the Conference. Hear about UCISA's resources, events, and working groups, as well as networking with your colleagues.



in the Exhibition

Introduction and welcome

Deborah Green, CEO, UCISA and James Crooks, CIO, Durham University

Opening keynote

Dr Eleanor Drage, Senior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge

Primary sponsor welcome


Delivering value with AI: Insights and lessons learnt in shaping your AI enabled digital journey

(Sponsored by Microsoft)


in the Exhibition

Institutional showcases


Travel time


Partner showcases


Travel time


Close of day 1

James Crooks, CIO, Durham University.

Networking and drinks reception

in the Exhibition

Drinks reception

at the National Museum Scotland


at the National Museum Scotland


Morning sessions Chair: Karen Bates, Deputy Chief Digital and Information Officer London Business School

Afternoon sessions Chair: Mark Johnston, Director of IT University of Glasgow


Breakfast session with Cognizant

Next-Level Student Engagement – how AI can enhance the physical and emotional student experience

(in Menteith)

  • Firoz Khan Pathan, Client Relationship Manager, Cognizant
  • Marcin Remarczyk, Education Consulting Director, Cognizant
  • Josephine Walsh, Head of Student Engagement, University of Galway
  • John Clancy, Founder and CEO, Galvia

Please register to attend


Breakfast session with ProofID

A Digital-First Future for Higher Education

(in Lammermuir)

  • Paul Heaney, CTO/CISO, ProofID
  • Stewart Cowie, Solution Engineering Manager, SailPoint

Please register to attend


Welcome to Day 2

Karen Bates, Deputy Chief Digital and Information Officer London Business School

The UCISA Academy in collaboration with Hays

Deborah Green, CEO, UCISA and Amanda Whicher and Harry Gooding, Hays

Elevating Digital Experiences: Creating an enterprise communications channel in a distributed organizational environment

Linnea Williams, Director of Communications Technology, Stanford University and Nick Condon, Managing Director, Squiz


in the Exhibition

Partner showcases


Travel time


International panel session

Chaired by Adrian Ellison, University of West London

  • Deborah Green, UCISA
  • Greg Sawyer, CAUDIT
  • Val Theron, HEITSA
  • John O’Brien, EDUCAUSE
  • Lindsay Sill, CUCCIO
  • Mathieu Giguere. CUCCIO
  • Gill Ferrell, EUNIS


in the Exhibition

The Art of the Possible with DreamWorks Animation

Kate Swanborg, Senior Vice President of Technology Communication and Strategic Alliances, DreamWorks

This house believes....predictions for the future of Higher-Ed Tech

Dan Roberts, CIO and David Skyers, Director for Enterprise Apps, SOAS

Travel time


Institutional showcases



in the Exhibition

Why universities are increasingly seeing curriculum management as the foundation of agility, transformation and long-term success

Professor Alison Honour, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Canterbury Christ Church University

Plenary session 6


Close of day 2

Mark Johnston, Director of IT University of Glasgow

Conference dinner drinks reception

Strathblane Hall, EICC

Conference dinner followed by the UCISA24 Awards Ceremony

Cromdale Hall, EICC


Chair: Emma Woodcock, CIO, York St John University


Welcome to Day 3

Emma Woodcock, CIO, York St John University

New Information Security Training for UCISA members

Paul Harness

Protecting the UK’s most sensitive research and innovation

NCSC Representative



Roundtable session


Closed meeting - Institutional members only

Deborah Green, CEO, UCISA

Closing keynote

Maggie Alphonsi, MBE

Closing remarks

Emma Woodcock, CIO, York St John University

Conference close followed by lunch and networking