Academic Director appointed to lead Digital Nottingham


September 8th, 2021

Professor Paul Grainge has been appointed as Academic Director for Digital Nottingham, the University of Nottingham’s ground-breaking new programme to support economic activity, attract investment and boost skills in the city.

Digital Nottingham will use the very latest research expertise in data science, technology and artificial intelligence in partnership with local stakeholders in skills and business to help solve local challenges across the city, while providing opportunities for growth and regeneration.

New partnerships have already been announced with KPMG to use the power of big data and machine learning to inform business decision-making, as well as with the UK’s leading technology venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, to link the city’s next generation of scale-up businesses to expertise which can help them innovate and grow.

Digital Nottingham is driven by a vision of collaboration that will enable individuals and organisations to benefit from the new capabilities of digital technology and data science – from data-driven policymaking, health research and investment planning to the myriad ways that digital products and innovations bear on social, cultural and work life.

Professor Grainge’s research interests include how digital technologies can connect people to content and information in multi-platform environments, and he has an impressive record in using universities’ research expertise to benefit the cities around them.

Looking forward to taking up his role from October, Professor Grainge said:

“I am genuinely excited by the progress that has been made with Digital Nottingham to date, and the innovation, ideas and creativity that underpin it, so we can really make this a project that is inclusive and meaningful for people across the city.

“When I think about the purpose of Digital Nottingham, I return to three simple concepts: Life, Prosperity and Prospects.

Professor Paul Grainge

Professor Paul Grainge

“By life, I mean health but also the human experience of digital culture, including the creative ways that digital technologies enable participation and play.

Prosperity refers to the key area of business and entrepreneurship and the partnerships that enhance regional economic growth and digital leadership.

Prospects describes digital skills and learning that can widen civic and employment horizons for Nottingham people. This involves data skills at different educational levels but it can also be a way to think about digital poverty in the city and how to mitigate the effects of this.”

Professor Grainge’s appointment as Academic Director will bring the academic leadership necessary to ensure Digital Nottingham reaches its full potential in utilising the expertise, research and innovation to be found across the university. A Programme Director will be appointed later this year to work alongside Professor Grainge and support the delivery of its projects.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said: “I am delighted to appoint Paul to lead Digital Nottingham and am confident that under his academic leadership, the programme will evolve rapidly to become a truly transformational offer to our city.

“Technology is delivering rapid and radical changes to economy and society across the globe and across our city. At the heart of this transformation is the way in which data and digital technologies can support how we can collaborate in different ways, learn new skills and create opportunities to deliver growth and recovery.

Digital Nottingham is a real opportunity to draw on the university’s expertise in research and innovation across a wide range of disciplines to support economic activity, attract investment and boost skills in the city to benefit its people, society and environment.”

Professor Grainge completed his PhD in Nottingham and became a member of staff in 2001. He is based in the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies.

As Director of the Midlands4Cities doctoral training partnership between 2016 and 2020 he was responsible for the work of eight Midlands universities in supporting the professional and personal development of the next generation of doctoral researchers in the arts and humanities. He was appointed to the AHRC Advisory Board in 2020. He has served on the AHRC Peer Review College and the editorial boards of Screen, Cinema Journal and Memory Studies.

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