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Giving something back: industry-academia collaboration

16 Feb 2018

| Author: John Wright


Giving something back: industry-academia collaboration

I began my IT career back in the early 90s having graduated from the University of Sheffield's Department of Computer Science with a degree in Software Engineering. 

Last year, IndigoBlue supported me in applying for and taking up a role on the Industry Advisory Board (IAB) at the university with the intention of donating time to help give something back to the department that had enabled me to build my career.

Within this role, I have the opportunity to review course structures/content, assess MSc projects, come up with ideas for research projects, support funding bids for new courses and support students with their final year projects.

This year has seen two fantastically successful bids:

  • to be a founding member of the newly launched Institute of Coding announced by Theresa May in January 2018, securing a £20m government investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) 
  • securing funding of £183K to develop two new MSc programmes combining cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI)

I witnessed the successful launch of the NHS Active 10 Health app developed by Prof. Fabio Ciravegna, Jie Gao and Chris Ingram at The OAK Group – a great example of industry and academia collaborating for the good of the community.

But one of the most rewarding opportunities has been to work with a final year BSc student, looking into the impact of digital transformation on business and how digital technology has enabled businesses to differentiate their services from competitors. We'll bring you more news of that next week, including an invitation to bring your rich industry insights to bear on his research through a short online survey – watch this space! (Update: more on the survey here!)

It's been a great six months and I'm now looking forward to developing ideas for how I can help give a little bit back to the department that got me started!

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John Wright

John is Head of DevOps and Public Sector Services at IndigoBlue. He joined IndigoBlue in 2006 as Senior Agile Consultant and has been running or coaching Agile teams since the late 1990s. 


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