BCS, the Council for Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) and the UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC) jointly hosted the inaugural UK Computing Summit this month, where the UK’s HE Computing community gathered.

Host Dr Rebecca Butler, Academic Dean and Head of College at the College of Engineering, Environment and Science, Coventry University, opened the summit. Julia Adamson MBE, Managing Director of Education & Public Benefit at BCS, began with a summary of the UK HE Computing landscape. Next, Jim Dickinson, Associate Editor at Wonkhe, offered insightful analysis on economic challenges, completion rates and specialisation approaches.

Craig Sharp, UK National Contract Point for Digital at Horizon Europe, and Suraj Bramhavar introduced the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) and his programme exploring building more efficient computers using principles found in nature.

The evening’s events

The conference dinner was held in St Mary’s Guildhall, where Professor Liz Bacon, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University delivered a speech exploring challenges and opportunities offered by AI in education.

Professor James Davenport CITP FBCS of the University of Bath received an Honorary Fellowship of BCS, awarded for an outstanding contribution to BCS over time. James commented: ‘This award is not just for me, it's also for all the other academics who contribute to BCS and the profession in their own right and also to create the next generation of professionals.’

We also welcomed Nicky Danino as the new Chair of CPHC, who takes over from Professor Rob Aspin, Associate Dean and Head of Computing in the School of Engineering and Computing at the University of Central Lancashire.

Looking forwards

Day two started with a presentation on the Institute of Coding by Dr. James Shuttleworth and Richard Lane, both of Coventry University. Professor Louise Archer, Karl Mannheim Chair of Sociology of Education, UCL then gave a fascinating presentation about the Aspires Project, a longitudinal study on diversity in STEM education.

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Dr. Matthew Shardlow and Dr Annabel Latham Senior Lecturers at Department of Computing and Mathematics at Manchester Metropolitan University gave an update on their collaborative generative AI policy paper.  

Professor Tom Crick MBE, Professor of Digital Policy at Swansea University and Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was joined by Adam Leon Smith, CTO at Neuro and Dragonfly, and Professor Liz Bacon for a fascinating discussion about the tech policy landscape. 

A tour de force ‘fireside chat’ by Julia Adamson and Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Co-founder Stemettes stimulated much discussion about equity, diversity and inclusion. (To refer your young female or nonbinary students for 1:1 mentorship please follow this link: https://bit.ly/sts-cphc)

BCS President Alastair Revell also chaired a graduate and industry panel discussion exploring skills, recruitment and early careers. The panel included Oliver Kerr (UCLan), Anusha Foy (KPMG), Aditi Ramachandran (6point6), Elise Ghent (University of Warwick), Colin Petford (Discover Financial Services),and  Hannah Ashna Jacob (Next).