Support digital innovation

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New and emerging technologies in the digital world provide Oxford University with unprecedented opportunities to innovate by sharing resources and ideas, working together and coming up with new concepts. The Digital Innovation Team acts as a catalyst to accelerate change and digital transformation across the university. We work to build a community to support digital innovation in education in Oxford. We support collaborative innovation and provide access to space and equipment as well as opportunities to connect staff, students and businesses.

Unearthing and supporting digital innovation

We identify and evaluate emerging technologies to improve research, teaching and learning and business processes in the University. We are interested in a broad range of technologies such as including immersive technologies, cloud computing, machine learning or artificial intelligence. We also try to keep up-to-date with what is happening in other fields.

We are a generalist team and we like to work collaboratively with other IT Services teams and university departments who are playing a key role in supporting the lifecycle of digital innovation by providing expertise to staff and student partners, and by developing new tools and services for the benefit of everyone working and studying at Oxford.

Digital innovation services

Embracing new opportunities and supporting staff and students in the generation of new ideas is recognised as a priority in the University’s IT Strategic Plan 2019–2024. More information about key services provided by the Digital Innovation team is below.

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We run an observatory for emerging trends and we offer advice to anyone in the University interested in how emerging technologies can impact their areas.

Take a look at our Emerging technologies dashboard (SSO required). 

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We are responsible for Oxford Ideas (IdeaScale). 

This is a free service provided by the central IT Services department to support collaborative innovation across Oxford University.

You can use it to gather ideas, identify new opportunities and encourage participation within your team or across the University. Contributors can post ideas, add comments and vote for their favourite suggestions. Feedback can be shared in real time to address local or global challenges and co-create future solutions.

We manage access to this resource and offer support for the entire idea lifecycle from idea generation to exploitation.

We run the Digital Innovation Lab, which is a space open to all students and staff in the University who are interested in exploring new technologies. The lab is a discovery space providing access to equipment and expertise to help you build quick prototypes so you can assess the value of new tools or ideas. Read more in our article about the lab.

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We offer access to expertise to build quick prototypes to assess the value of new tools or ideas.

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We engage with students, academics, researchers and professionals within the University and externally to foster communities of expertise for sharing advice and supporting projects.

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We facilitate events, seminars, workshops and clinics to explore and expand the use of new technologies. 

Projects and events

We administer funding for projects and also run webinars and other events as part of encouraging participation in digital innovation at Oxford. More information is available below. 

The Digital Futures - Community Forum is a Teams site for discussing the development of immersive technologies in academia. Open to all University members with an interest in immersive technologies, the site provides access to a mix of informal discussions and invited speakers to present ideas, highlight existing projects and explore opportunities for collaboration between members of the University. All levels of experience are welcome.

We occasionally run Digital Futures webinars which are advertised on our news and events page, and on the What's on page of our IT Learning Centre website. Recorded sessions are available also - contact us for more information. 

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The Digital Innovation team was created in 2016 to administer the University’s IT Innovation Seed Fund which was a limited pocket of funding to support small start-up digital projects to benefit the University.

Nurturing new ideas in this way delivered many successful new services and applications, for example:

  • Open Cabinet and Cabinet: related projects which aim to innovate how museum objects are embedded into University teaching and learning.
  • Know Your Oxford: a free guided audio tour for new and prospective students at Oxford, available as an app.
  • VESPa: the Virtual Environment Sampling Platform, an interactive online mapping tool that can be used to learn sampling techniques. 

Find out more about digital innovation technologies and collaboration

Talk to an expert

We offer a free, tailored consultancy service to all members of the University interested in the use of new technologies, whether for individual use or as part of a project. Book an appointment to talk to us.

Student internships  

We sometimes have opportunities for students wanting to collaborate in innovation projects. If you are a student interested in collaborating with us please get in touch.  

Supporting members of staff 

If you are a member of staff interested in discussing your new idea for a project or you want to learn more about a specific technology and how to use it for teaching or research you can contact us to find out more.  

Digital futures sessions

Further information and recordings about all Digital futures at Oxford sessions can be found in the Innovation news section on this page.