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Professor Ian Allison

Executive Dean

Professor Allison is the Executive Dean for the Faculty of Science and Technology, providing academic and business strategic leadership for over 9000 students. The Faculty includes a range of subjects across the Schools of Engineering, Natural Sciences, and Psychology and Computer Science. Ian is leading the interdisciplinary academic programme for the new Engineering Innovation Centre and is launching a new data science initiative. He is a Principal Fellow of the HEA. His personal expertise and experience are in the fields of socio-technical systems and IT Management.

Professor Allison joined the University in 2018 as Executive Dean of Engineering and Digital Technology, following over 25 years as a successful academic leader in England and Scotland. This role soon changed to Executive Dean for the Faculty of Science and Technology. Ian has led the Faculty through a period of growth and restructure. The Faculty delivers a wide range of educational programmes, with considerable partner education across the globe. Ian has been leading the successful growth in Degree Apprenticeship work with leading employers such as the BBC, BAE Systems, NHS, Royal Mail and regional Police Forces. Regional partnership work is at the forefront of Ian’s remit. Some of the highlights since joining the University include the launch of the Engineering Innovation Centre and the Lancashire Forensic Science Academy, reflecting the strong partnership work within the Faculty. The Faculty has been highly successful in its innovation programmes recently winning the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Recycling Lives, and accounts for approximately a third of all innovation and public engagement activity in the University. Innovative and world-leading research in the Faculty of Science and Technology spans a wide spectrum. The research helps to utilise and engage with our natural world and provides real-world solutions to industry, the business community or the public sector. He has established a new research and innovation centre in Data Innovation and is integral to a number of key developments including a regional Drone Centre and programmes in Medi-tech and Agri-tech research and innovation. Ian’s research and commercial expertise focuses on socio-technical information systems, namely the processes related to the management, design, development and adoption of digital systems. He has forged an international research track record after his doctorate, with best paper awards, invited and keynote speeches, and special issue editorship. He is now President of the International Information Management Association (IIMA). As an enthusiastic educationalist and reflective practitioner he has published and led national projects in the area of education and employability. He is currently supervising projects in the area of agile development and DevSecOps, and on aspects of inclusivity in apprenticeships and employment.

Following a decade in commercial software practice Professor Allison switched careers into academia. His roles in academic leadership have developed since then from being a course leader and school quality manager at Nottingham Trent. As Head of School of Computing and Dean of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences at two universities in Scotland he led significant change programmes to enhance quality and reach. He was the Universities Scotland representative on Scottish Government’s STEM strategy implementation group, with a focus on equality and diversity. He is currently leading a project on inclusivity in assessment and the impact of disadvantaged backgrounds on graduate employability. He was the inaugural chair of a Digital Skills Partnership formed across Scottish HE and FE institutions to address gaps in the graduate skill base. His significant employer engagement work draws on Ian’s prior commercial experience, and subsequent consultancy and knowledge exchange projects. He co-led the establishment of the highly-regarded SFC funded Data Lab Innovation Centre and a DCMS funded Aberdeen-wide digital entrepreneurial incubator. He has held many board level and national committee roles focused on addressing the HE-industry interface and STEM skills gap, including being an elected to the ScotlandIS Board, the national ICT trade body. Consequently, he developed a national voice on digital skills and is an invited speaker at high profile events. Ian works to ensure equality and diversity in the sector, and that the pathways to STEM careers are open to all. He has significant experience of external QA work – including six years on the BCS Accreditation Committee – and pioneering curriculum development that reflects employers’ future demands. He has been at the forefront of the creation of degree apprenticeships, and related pedagogical frameworks and work-based learning standards. He was elected to the national Council of Professors and Heads of Computing where he led the Learning and Development Group.