Head of the Centre for Computational Educational Sciences
Dmitry Abbakumov is a psychometrician and data scientist. After completing his PhD in 2019 he started the Open Lab for Psychometrics of Digital Learning, and is now leading a psychometric team at the eLearning Office at HSE University in Russia. Dmitry’s professional mission is to help universities and EdTech companies improve digital learning products by providing advanced psychometric analyses of behavioural data collected by platforms and applications.
Director of the Higher Institute of IT and Intelligent Systems
Kazan Federal University
Professor Mikhail Abramskiy has been director of the Higher Institute of IT and Intelligent Systems at Kazan Federal University since 2019. Prior to this, he was head of the software engineering bachelor educational programme (2015-19). With 10 years of experience as a developer and project manager in software engineering, Professor Abramskiy’s areas of scientific interest are smart education and data-driven management in education. He spoke at TEDxBaumanSt in 2019.
Timirkhan Alishev is a candidate in social sciences at KFU. He is head of KFU’s Situation Analytical Centre and is responsible for transformation in education and student experience at the university. He is also responsible for education research at KFU’s Institute of Psychology and Education. He previously served as deputy minister of education and science of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Research scientist in the Advanced Research Center
Dr Fatai Anifowose obtained his PhD in 2015 from the University of Malaysia Sarawak in the field of computer science. Prior to joining Saudi Aramco in 2015, he worked in similar capacity at the Research Institute of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. His career interweaves computational intelligence with the reservoir characterisation aspect of petroleum geology, and he has been involved in the application of machine learning and advanced data mining for over 10 years. Dr Anifowose has published over 50 papers in journals and conference proceedings, filed five patents, and received several research and development awards. He is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, and American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Dr Maha Bali is associate professor of practice at the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo. She has a PhD in education from the University of Sheffield. She is co-founder of Virtually Connecting, a grassroots movement that challenges academic gatekeeping at conferences, and co-facilitator of Equity Unbound, an equity-focused, open, connected intercultural learning curriculum, which has also branched into academic community activities Continuity with Care and Inclusive Academia. Dr Bali writes and speaks frequently about social justice, critical pedagogy, and open and online education.
Phil Baty is a leading international authority on university performance and strategy, with more than 22 years of experience in global higher education, including a decade as editor of the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings and its derivative analyses. He is an award-winning journalist, a sought-after speaker and commentator, and the creator of the THE World Academic Summits.
Seeta Bhardwa has been the student content editor at Times Higher Education since February 2017. She manages a network of student bloggers from all over the world who write about their experiences of studying at university, while creating student-focused content based on the THE rankings portfolio and writing comment and advice pieces on student issues. She was previously the deputy editor of Independent Nurse magazine and has a BA in English from the University of Reading.
Angus Cheung worked as the MSc developmental linguistics programme representative at the University of Edinburgh (UoE). Prior to completing his studies at UoE, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in general linguistics and Spanish from the University of Hong Kong and the Cambridge CELTA. He also served as a student representative on the CAES Student-Staff Consultative Committee at the University of Hong Kong. He is currently working as an ESL teacher.
An experienced project manager, engineer and scientist, Dmitry has 15 years of experience leading diverse technology projects. As well his roles as head of the Digital Transformation Center and head of the Cyberphysics Department at Kazan Federal University, he is Laureate of the National Zavoisky Physical Award.
Sara Custer is digital editor at THE. She has covered global higher education as a journalist for more than five years. Before joining THE in 2017, she was editor of international education website and magazine, The PIE News.
Marat Fatkhullin is vice-president of global strategic networks for Elsevier and works in Russia, Europe, Africa and Middle Asia as well worked in Japan and Taiwan establishing international collaborations in science and health. He works with government ministers, regional governments, universities and funding agencies. Mr Fatkhullin joined Elsevier in 2011 and has worked on many successful collaborative projects including developing regional economies through evidence-based partnerships between industry and universities and facilitating the adoption of successful programmes to focus and improve research output quality.
Dr Maeve Fitzpatrick’s role at the University of Nottingham focuses on developing and implementing strategic international research collaborations aligned to both university strategy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The international development team is responsible both for oversight of the university's international funding mechanisms, and coordination of strategic research agreement and interdisciplinary funding bid submissions. The international team has supported collaborative research agreements spanning more than 80 countries across five faculties including engineering, science, arts and humanities, and medical and health sciences.
Ed Foster has worked in higher education for over 25 years in a variety of roles supporting students to engage better with their studies and reduce barriers to their participation. As head of student engagement and analytics at Nottingham Trent University, he is responsible for the NTU Student Dashboard learning analytics resource.
His research interests include transition into higher education, student engagement, retention and success, disparities of attainment and strategies for supporting students. He has led both UK and European research projects including current research into the efficacy of alert-based interventions for the OFLA Erasmus+ project.
Ilshat Gafurov, an economics and management expert, took on the role of rector of Kazan Federal University (his alma mater) in 2010, the same year that he became chairman of the Council of Rectors of Tatarstan. In addition, he is currently serving a fourth term as a deputy of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan. He also has extensive experience as a municipal manager, having worked for 12 years as head of Yelabuga district in Tatarstan.
Almira Garifullina is a senior lecturer in the Department of Preschool Education at Kazan Federal University. She took part in a joint pilot project with University College Dublin on the digitalisation and virtualisation of educational spaces in schools and higher educational institutions. The results of the project were presented at the European Schoolnet conferences in 2018 (Lisbon) and 2019 (Warsaw).
Garifullina’s research interests include the development of the personality of a young teacher in professional activities in the context of digitalisation of education, mentoring and coaching in education.
Deputy director of the Information Technology Development Department
Dr Rafail Gazizov obtained a PhD in physical and mathematical sciences in 1999. He has been head of the High-performance Computing Technologies and Systems Department since 2001, and professor at Ufa State Aviation Technical University since 2005. His fields of expertise include the study of differential equations by methods of group analysis and mathematical simulation. Dr Gazizov is the author of more than 100 scientific articles, and became head of the research laboratory Group Analysis of Mathematical Models in Natural Science, Engineering and Technology in 2018.
Dr Gell has a PhD in biophysics from the University of Leeds, where he developed instrumentation and control/analysis code for the study of single proteins. Following this, he moved to a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, where he studied microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins. Now leader of the digital research team at the University of Nottingham, Dr Gell works to help researchers in medicine and health sciences make use of advanced digital technologies.
John Gill has been editor of Times Higher Education since 2012. He has previously held roles as news editor, deputy news editor and reporter with the magazine. Gill has been closely involved in the development of THE’s World University Rankings portfolio over the last eight years, and was called to give evidence to the recent parliamentary inquiry into teaching metrics.
Head of the Department of Applied and Experimental Linguistics
Kazan Federal University
Professor Elena Gorobets works in the sphere of applied linguistics and psychology. At Kazan Federal University she heads the Department of Applied and Experimental Linguistics as well as the Clinical Linguistics Laboratory. Her research interests include neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, speech disorders, cognitive impairment, and applied grammar. The Clinical Linguistics Laboratory's key projects are connected with speech disorders in children and adults, cognitive development of children with epilepsy, the creation of linguistically valid psychometric tools for the assessment of cognitive functions, speech status, pain, depression, anxiety and comorbid disorders.
Dr John Green is a Life Fellow of Queen’s College at the University of Cambridge. In 1993, he became chief executive of the Royal Society of Medicine where he was the driving force behind the creation of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. In 1998, Dr Green moved to Imperial College London where he merged five medical schools into Imperial and created the UK’s first Academic Health Sciences Centre. He was chief operating officer of Imperial until 2010, where he led major projects involving research management and information technology. Dr Green has extensive experience of advising governments, universities and funders on research strategies and has chaired the steering committees for many government reports on research performance.
Dr Gusev is head of the KFU-RIKEN Functional Genomics Unit and the Extreme Biology Lab at Kazan Federal University. He is also associate professor at the University of Juntendo in Japan.
Dr Gusev obtained his PhD in the field of functional genomics and currently runs two connected laboratories, one at Kazan Federal University (Russia) and the other at RIKEN (Japan). The key project of the lab is based on the international consortium approach in hereditary cancer genomics, deep transcriptomics analysis and single cell gene expression.
Vice-president and pro vice-chancellor of teaching and learning
University of Hong Kong
Ian Holliday has been vice-president of teaching and learning at the University of Hong Kong since 2015. He works with colleagues and students throughout the campus and in partnering institutions globally to identify and develop new learning initiatives and promote quality education.
As well as associate dean of research, Kai-Lung Hui is also a professor of business and deputy head of information systems, business statistics and operations management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School.
He teaches courses in technology management and strategy in various masters and executive masters programmes at HKUST.
Dale Johnson works with university leaders to develop and implement digital solutions to enable student success. His efforts have earned him the 2016 Sally M Johnstone Award from WCET recognising his thought leadership, excellence in practice and demonstrated leadership capabilities. In 2018, he was honoured by the IMS Global Learning Consortium with an outstanding service award for his leadership of the adaptive courseware community of practice. Mr Johnson obtained a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University. He has spoken on the topic of digital innovation in higher education at more than 20 international conferences and led workshops on the subject at numerous universities.
Minister of digitalisation of public administration and ITC
Republic of Tatarstan
Dr Ayrat Khayrullin obtained his PhD in social studies in 2007 and his MBA at Kazan Institute of Economics and Finance in 2010. In 2019 he was appointed to his current position as minister of digitalisation of public administration and ITC for the Republic of Tatarstan. Previous posts have included head of the executive committee of Almetyevsk municipal region of the Republic of Tatarstan for more than 4 years, and assistant to the president of economic affairs of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Professor of anthropological studies in culture and history
University of Hamburg
Ms Gertraud Koch specialises in the study of digitisation as a social and cultural phenomenon since the 1990s. In her research, she combines approaches from science and technology studies, digital humanities, media archaeology and critical data studies. Her recent publications include Digitisation. Theories and concepts for empirical cultural research; and Source criticism of data platform logics on the internet.
Following a PhD in biochemistry, Dr Simon Kolstoe spent eight years at the Royal Free Hospital as part of an inter¬disciplinary research group collaborating with industry. During this time, he became interested in the ethics of clinical research, completing a BA in philosophy and then an MA in research ethics. He moved to the University of Portsmouth in 2012 where he has further developed his interests in research ethics and methodology. Dr Kolstoe chairs ethics committees for the MOD, PHE and NHS (Hampshire A), and he is also a member of the Department of Health’s Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).
Professor Diana Laurillard is based within the Knowledge Lab at UCL. Her research includes large-scale online communities of teacher-designers, and the use of specialised digital course design tools to enable teachers to create and share new pedagogies for using learning technology. She is currently conducting research into MOOCs for professional education in challenging contexts, learning design, and digital games for dyscalculia. Previous roles include head of the E-learning Strategy Unit at the UK’s Department for Education and Skills and pro vice-chancellor of learning technologies at The Open University.
Deputy directorof the global education partner programme
Mr Danny Lin has more than 25 years of experience in the ICT industry in markets including Australia, China and Thailand. He has extensive experience in the development of education programmes and in channel operation, services operation and business development. He previously worked in research and development for BUPT in China, as support manager for NCR in China and Australia, senior vice-president for Datamat in Thailand, vice-president for the Red Bull group in China and business development manager for Cisco Systems in Australia. Mr Lin joined Huawei Australia in 2014 as enterprise services manager, before transferring to Huawei headquarters in 2017 to take up his current role.
Director of the SoLET laboratory and professor of psychology
Arizona State University
Danielle McNamara is a professor of psychology at Arizona State University. She has published over 450 scholarly works on topics related to educational technologies, game-based learning, reading comprehension, writing, text and learning analytics, and natural language processing. Dr McNamara has served as an associate editor for five academic journals, and currently serves as the founding editor of APA’s Technology, Mind, and Behavior.
Sharron McPherson is co-founder and director of the Centre for Disruptive Technologies and a founding member of the Singularity University South Africa. She is also founder and chair of the Future Education Foundation. She has many years’ experience as an investment banker and has lived in Africa since 2001, working at the forefront of the movement to invest differently in African women and youth. She is a founding member of Women in Infrastructure, Development and Energy, and of New Faces New Voices, which aims to expand the role and influence of women in the financial sector. She has a strong interest in advancing technologies for development in Africa. At present, she teaches project finance at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
Dr Carla Meskill is a professor in the department of educational theory and practice at State University of New York, Albany. Dr Meskill is one of the leading scholars in language and technology and online education. She has established and directed technology research centres at major universities, served as a research and design consultant, and shared her work around the world. Her publications include numerous books and research articles on language and digital screen mediation in classrooms, in online instruction, and as part of educator professional development.
Dr Alexandra Mihai is an education specialist and learning experience designer with over a decade of experience in European higher education. She is currently working as a learning designer at University College London (UCL). Previously she worked as a researcher and curriculum designer at the Institute of European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and led the Centre for Teaching Innovations at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Dr Mihai has a strong background in e-learning, learning design and innovative teaching strategies.
Vice-president and chair professor of comparative policy
Professor Ka Ho Mok is vice-president and concurrently Lam Man Tsan chair professor of comparative policy at Lingnan University. He has published extensively in the fields of comparative education policy, comparative development and policy studies, and social development in contemporary China and East Asia. His recent published works have focused on comparative social development and social policy responses in the Greater China region and East Asia. He is also the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian Public Policy and the Journal of Asian Education and Development Studies, as well as a book series editor for Routledge and Springer.
Peter Nikoletatos is global industry director of education at TechnologyOne, and has more than 30 years of experience in the ICT industry. He has held several senior IT roles across the higher education, radiology and resources sectors, including most recently as executive director and chief information officer at La Trobe University, where he currently holds an adjunct professor role in the School of Computer Sciences and IT.
Industry executive for higher education (Central and Eastern Europe)
Ms Elisaveta Nojkovska’s role is to lead the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) execution of Microsoft’s vision for education to help empower educators and inspire students to achieve more and be ready for the world of tomorrow. Prior to joining the CEE Education Team in 2019, she undertook a range of roles in the wider region of 24 countries in Europe as part of the marketing, PR, finance and business segment of Microsoft. Her aim is to help transform the way we learn with the support of the best technology. One of her main goals is to expand partnerships between higher education and government/commercial entities to drive research, student experiences, curriculum development and innovation.
Professor of linguistics in the Department of Languages
National Open University of Nigeria
Christine Ofulue is a professor of linguistics in the Department of Languages and a research coordinator in the Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL) at the National Open University of Nigeria. She has facilitated several research and capacity building initiatives on research and quality assurance in open, distance and e-learning within the higher education space in Africa. Her research interests are in the sociolinguistics of contact languages and minortised languages in multilingual and technologically mediated contexts as well as in flexible learning and quality assurance to improve educational outcomes and enrich student learning experiences.
Dr Ebba Ossiannilsson is an independent senior researcher, consultant, and influencer in open online flexible, hybrid and distance learning, and the future of education. Her focus is on quality, innovation, leadership, and personal learning. Ossiannilsson works in close collaboration and serves as expert with international and national organisations.
Ossiannilsson has more than 200 publications, and is a guest editor for several special issues of a variety of journals and editorial boards.
Associate director of global engagement (strategy support)
University of Nottingham
David leads on the development and implementation of the University of Nottingham’s global engagement strategy and coordinates, facilitates and develops global engagement activities across the university in support of Nottingham’s strategic aim to be a university without borders.
David has been at the University of Nottingham for 12 years and was previously responsible for designing and implementing its advancement strategy in Asia-Pacific.
Director of the Clinical Research Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine
Kazan Federal University
Professor Rizvanov is chief researcher and director of the Clinical Research Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine at Kazan Federal University (KFU). He is also deputy head of the Strategic Academic Unit “Translational 7P Medicine” (5-100 Programme of KFU), corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, and honorary professor of fundamental medicine, University of Nottingham. His fields of expertise include multi-omics medicine, precision medicine, regenerative medicine, gene and cell therapy, molecular neurobiology, molecular virology, cancer diagnostics and therapy.
Jamil Salmi is a global tertiary education expert providing policy advice to governments, universities, and development agencies. In the past 25 years, Dr Salmi has provided advice on tertiary education development in more than 100 countries, and was the World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator until 2012.
Dr Salmi’s latest book, Tertiary Education and the Sustainable Development Goals, was published in 2017.
Dr John Schulz is a lecturer at the University of Southampton Education School, where he specialises in online and video-based learning. Schulz developed one of the university’s first online programmes, an MSc in education, and many videos on the fundamentals of research methods for education that are used by students, academics, and universities around the globe.
Professor Mairi Scott is professor of general practice and medical education at the University of Dundee and director of the Centre for Medical Education which has an international reputation for excellence in all aspects of medical education. She has provided consultancy advice and regulatory reviews of medical education in the UK, Saudi Arabia, the USA and Georgia. Professor Scott is a member of the University Senate and University Court and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal in 2016 in recognition of her significant contribution to the development and promotion of excellence in teaching. She is also a senior founding fellow of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, and was chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland.
Professor Dil Sidhu’s role with global online learning platform edX is focused on creating partnerships with academic institutions and enterprise organisations to enable the creation of content (courses through to master’s level degrees) for a global learner audience made up of students and professionals. His previous roles include chief content officer at Coursera, vice-dean of Columbia Business School, chief external officer at the University of Manchester and director of executive education at London Business School. As a professor of management practice, he has also taught at 22 universities around the world on business topics. His other interests include mentoring young professionals.
Head of the intelligent technologies of text management laboratory
Kazan Federal University
Professor Marina Solnyshkina is a professor of linguistics at Kazan Federal University. Her research interests include text complexity, reading comprehension and the impact of reader characteristics on comprehension. She is particularly interested in discovering new ways to assess text complexity as well as readers’ ability to understand texts. Professor Solnsyhkina has collaborated on projects with researchers and organisations internationally and presented her work at many conferences around the world, her publications have appeared in a range of international journals and books.
Professor Tayursky took on his current role in 2015. His academic and administrative career started at Kazan State University (his alma mater) and then, in 2010, he moved to the Institute of Physics at Kazan Federal University where he was deputy director for educational activities and head of the general physics department. He worked as invited professor at RIKEN, Japan (2002-2018) and led the KFU-RIKEN joint laboratory.
His awards include honoured worker of higher professional education of the Russian Federation (2011) and state prize of the Republic of Tatarstan in the field of science and technology (2006).
Sergey Usmanov is a specialist in reservoir simulation and with wide experience in surrounding areas. He holds an MSc from the National School of Geology (ENSG) in the hydrodynamics, geology and modelling on subterranean energy reservoirs. As deputy director of research at the Centre of Excellence of Digital Technology at Kazan Federal University, Mr Usmanov manages digital projects and is involved in the development of automatic algorithms.
Research director of data assimilation and optimisation
Dr Randi Valestrand is a research director at the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE, formerly known as IRIS), heading the reservoir group located in Bergen, Norway. Valestrand holds a PhD degree in physics from the University of Bergen. Since 1999 she has worked with research within the petroleum sector with a keen focus on parameter estimation, history matching, reservoir characterisation and data assimilation. She joined NORCE in 2002 and has frequently been led large projects sponsored by the industry and the Research Council of Norway.
Director of the Eco-oil Global Energy and Resources Unit
Kazan Federal University
Dr Mikhail Varfolomeev leads research and industrial projects in enhanced oil recovery, gas hydrates, catalysts and biomass treatment. He also heads a Centre of Excellence in innovative and clean technologies of production and in-situ upgrading of crude oil. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the European Federation of Chemical Engineering. He completed his PhD at Kazan State University and, in 2016, graduated from the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo programme “Leaders of changes in global universities”.
Shuaiguo Wang is president of XuetangX, the first Mooc (massive open online course) platform in China founded by Tsinghua University in 2013. Prior to joining XuetangX, he was responsible for research in digital learning at Tsinghua. His Mooc has been awarded the National Mooc of China, with more than 70,000 enrolments. In 2015, he founded Rain Classroom, claimed to be the most active teaching tool for higher education in China, with more than 20 million users. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in computer science from Tsinghua University.
Tom Wigham is a lecturer in English academic skills at the University of Groningen, where he has taught courses on argumentation, debating skills and research writing. He also works at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, where he teaches courses on English language and linguistics.
Ksenia Zavyalova is a research associate in the institute of psychology and education at Kazan Federal University. She holds an MSc in educational leadership from Queen’s University Belfast. Her research interests include blended learning, the community of online teachers, teacher YouTubers, and ICT in education.
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