Published on 23/02/2024
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L to R: Professor Aleks Subic, Sir Peter Rigby, Professor Abdul Sadka
L to R: Professor Aleks Subic, Sir Peter Rigby, Professor Abdul Sadka
  • Sir Peter was knighted for his contribution to IT and businesses in the Midlands in 2002
  • He will provide guidance, support, advocacy and strong links to industry in his role
  • The Institute will drive digital innovation and ensure digital inclusion.

Aston University is delighted to announce that it has appointed one of the UK’s most respected and successful business leaders, Sir Peter Rigby, as honorary chair of its new Digital Futures Institute.

The announcement of Sir Peter’s appointment was made in front of guests at the inaugural lecture given by Professor Abdul Sadka, director of the Digital Futures Institute, at Aston University on 22 February.

Sir Peter founded SCC – the largest privately owned Information Technology Group in Europe – some 50 years ago 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. Aston University and SCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2023, forming a strategic partnership 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.

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 Rigby 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."

Notes to editors

About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sue Smith, head of press and communications, on (+44) 7816 788663 or email: s.p.smith@aston.ac.uk

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