Dr Angela Jeffery, Director of Regional Strategy

Dr Angela Jeffery is Director of Regional Strategy at Aston University. Her core focus is on Aston’s engagement with our region and society in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. This includes the development of a civic university agreement focused on the needs of citizens and supported by our regional partners.Her role involves collaboration with local government, universities and community. Angela also coordinates Aston’s strategic projects focused on regeneration. She has worked in several roles at Aston spanning business development, commercialisation, intellectual property and account management and she previously managed Enterprise and Innovation at St George’s University of London.

Tel: 0121 204 3366


Mark Smith, Executive Director of Business and Regional Engagement

Mark takes strategic responsibility for all business engagement activities at the University and showcases the commercial benefits of working with Aston to business, professional and public sector organisations. This includes Aston’s business growth programmes, student placements, knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs), Degree Apprenticeships and other initiatives. Mark joined Aston from Birmingham City University where he was Director of Enterprise and Employability. His career has involved working across government, regeneration and online education taking on big projects including establishing new airports and fostering enterprise in inner-city areas.

Email (c/o Sharon Benzing)


Lucy O'Reilly, Regional Engagement Manager

Lucy’s core focus is to engage and develop relationships with regional bodies, local MPs (in collaboration with the Aston Government Relations & Policy team), Cllrs and other partners to support the implementation and embedding of Aston’s Civic University Agreement and to further Aston’s role in the region. Lucy works with colleagues across the University to develop and implement civic projects, amplifying the impact of this work and enabling Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region to benefit from the work of Aston’s academics. She has previously worked in policy and stakeholder engagement roles, including as England Regional Policy Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses and an elected councillor for Birmingham City Council.



Rosa Amato, Regional Engagement Manager (Sports and Communities)

Rosa manages key stakeholder relationships with sport and community organisations in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. Until recently, Rosa has focused on Aston University’s sponsorship of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, co-ordinating activities on site and leveraging the various opportunities. Whilst she is still managing the B2022 legacy piece, Rosa now focuses on Aston University’s sponsorship of Aston Villa FC, working across the University to create a joined up approach of all activities.

Rosa also takes the lead with other strategically important projects that fall within the Civic University Agreement for example, the Staff Volunteering Scheme and Community Champions.



Professor Jo Andrews, Professor of Communications

Jo is focusing upon two projects both of which engage a number of our supportive partner institutions.

Jo was instrumental in developing a Young Women into Leadership (You WIL) summit which was delivered for the first time in July and August 2021. This international Leadership programme demonstrated a successful partnership between the University, Birmingham City Council, the Lord Mayor’s Office and the US Embassy.

More than 80 girls from Birmingham and the city’s international sister cities logged on for a week of female speaker engagement and cross-cultural team presentations. Following the excellent participant feedback, planning is now underway for an even more ambitious programme of You WIL events for 2022.

In addition Jo is supporting the existing relationship between the University and the Aston Villa Women team with a particular interest in developing the personal and professional development of the players towards aspirations and careers beyond professional football.


How our university departments are helping our community


The Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship has transformed the 'perceptions' of ethnic minority entrepreneurs.

The Aston Centre for Growth

The Aston Centre for Growth has helped hundreds of regional SMEs to improve their productivity and revenue.

The Alumni Relations Office

Learn how our dedicated Alumni team works with local, national and even international businesses to offer a range of community benefits.

Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE)

The Research and Knowledge Exchange team coordinates knowledge exchange activities between our academic community, the public, and partner organisations.

Human Resources (HR)

Our HR teams have worked extensively with the local population to upskill and employ those seeking qualifications and jobs.

Student Recruitment and Outreach (SRO)

Our Student Recruitment and Outreach team target schools, colleges and sixth-form learners from under-represented groups across the region in order to help widen access to higher education.

Students' Union

Our Students' Union (SU) societies raise money for worthwhile causes, including helping communities in the local area. Previous initiatives have included helping refugees integrate into Birmingham's society and setting up an on-site food bank.

Careers & Placements

Our Careers and Placements Team support local companies, charities and regional bodies to access placement students and to recruit our graduates.