Sara is Director of the Digital Futures Institute. Working with colleagues, the Institute will develop focus areas such as digital education, environment, ICT, health and security. As BT Professor and Director of the DigiTech Centre, Sara is looking to deepen the University’s partnerships and programmes with BT and the ICT cluster of 155 companies based at Adastral Park.
With her Doctoral research in Data Science, Sara’s work has always been cross-disciplinary, initially focusing on understanding how institutions work with respect to digital processes and systems. This set up an interest in understanding natural human computer interfaces and game-based reward and feedback systems, which she explored in her work at the London Knowledge Lab (University of London, now UCL) and the Serious Games Institute (Coventry University). There, Sara was generously supported by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), European Commission and a range of regional and national funders, addressing research questions around efficacy, natural interfaces, and accelerated learning.
The work was often applied and impactful centring upon systemic improvements through policy and strategy, sectoral development through clusters (ICT and Manufacturing), innovations in education, health and wellbeing and regional growth.
In addition to completing 81 research, development, and knowledge transfer projects, over the period, Sara has developed virtual software applications and demonstrators and three platforms and was fortunate to be a Scientific Coordinator of a large EC-funded network of excellence. Through firsts in field in the new field of serious games and with a deep engagement with digital education, Sara’s models and frameworks, papers, books, case studies and applications led to significant impact regionally, nationally, and internationally.
This work placed Sara well to move into executive roles in the UK and Australia where she was able to apply the lessons learnt from research with significant benefits for students, executives, and Boards, as well as other stakeholders. Through applying the models and approaches developed, Sara was able to become adept at adapting organizations, systems, and processes to digitization with clear improvements and outcomes. In the recent period, as an AIM-company listed Director, Sara has developed end-to-end systems working with local authorities, a network of universities and contributing to government consultations. Sara holds fellowships with the Royal Society of Arts, Business Excellence Institute, and the Higher Education Academy.
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