Aston University has appointed Sir Peter Rigby as honorary chair of its new Digital Futures Institute.

The announcement was made in front of guests at the inaugural lecture given by Professor Abdul Sadka, director of the Digital Futures Institute, at Aston University.

Sir Peter founded SCC – the largest privately owned Information Technology Group in Europe –  in 1975.

SCC is the core business focus of the Rigby Group which ranks highly in the UK’s top privately owned businesses and its non-core interests extend beyond technology, transformation and technology investments into real estate, airports and hotels.

SCC has a turnover in EMEA of £3.3bn and more than 45 offices around the globe.

Aston University and SCC signed a strategic partnership in March 2023 to drive digital innovation and digital inclusion.

The establishment of the Digital Futures Institute represents Aston University’s long-term commitment to digital innovation.

Working at the interfaces between health, digital and technology, the Institute is focused on transformational impact and economic regeneration of the region, particularly through the development of a digital powerhouse in the Birmingham Innovation Quarter (B-IQ).

The appointment reflects Sir Peter’s achievements as a technology innovator, his passionate commitment to the development of digital skills and wider contributions to the region.

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The Institute will be based on the main Aston University campus and will be officially opened in September 2024.

Professor Aleks Subic, vice-chancellor and chief executive of Aston University, said: “We are delighted that Sir Peter has agreed to be the inaugural honorary chair of the Digital Futures Institute at Aston University.

“We share many common goals, including a determination to accelerate digital innovation and digital inclusion to benefit business and society. Sir Peter’s support, advocacy and insight will be a great asset to the new Institute.”

Sir Peter said: “I accepted the position because I believe the work of the Institute will make an impact on some of the most important issues facing society – namely digital inclusion and socially responsible transformation – and particularly the application of AI and helping to accelerate AI backed products and services to market.

“There is strong synergy between Aston and SCC, and this formalised last year into a strategic partnership focused on driving the application and deployment of digital technologies and digital skills. The Digital Futures Institute is the focal point for this partnership.

“As Honorary Chair of the Institute, I hope to provide guidance, support and advocacy to ensure strong links to cutting-edge digital technologies in industry.”

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