Aston Digital Futures Institute (ADFI) is aligned with the strategic research priorities of the University and is one of the enablers of our 2030 strategy. It represents a long-term commitment by the University to growing this area, stretching beyond the next expected REF in 2028 and well into the 2030s.

How ADFI links to Aston University’s existing research strengths

A key aim of AIDF will be to link its research with other areas of focus at the University, across our three Colleges (Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life and Health Sciences and Business and Social Sciences).

Research Institutes

Aston University’s flagships research areas are the University Research Institutes, which together account for half of the University’s research awards. They all interface with the digital research agenda to varying degrees:


Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) focuses on light-based information and communication technology. AIPT is directed by Professor Sergei Turitsyn FREng

Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT)


Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) researches bioenergy and develops new bioproducts under the direction of Professor Patricia Thornley FREng

Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)


Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment (AIHN) uses advanced technology to explore brains, development and healthy behaviours, with a focus on paediatrics. AIHN is co-directed by Professor Jacqueline Blissett and Professor Gavin Woodhall

Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment (AIHN)


Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL), uses cutting edge language and computational methodologies to impact on the delivery of justice. AIFL is directed by Professor Tim Grant FAcSS

Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL)


Research Centres

A number of other existing and new research centres will also link in with ADFI:

The College of Health and Life Sciences (HLS) has recently appointed world-leading expert in bio-informatics, Professor Ian Wong, as its new Regius Professor of Pharmacy. Professor Wong will join Aston University from UCL in spring 2023.

Together with the College of Business and Social Sciences (BSS), the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) has launched a new Cyber Security Innovation Research Centre aligned with ADFI.

EPS is also developing new research centres in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, as well as in Medical Informatics, aligned with ADFI.

The School of Social Sciences and Humanities within BSS hosts the Digital Humanities Research Group.


Businesses and public sector organisations

ADFI will partner with businesses and public sector organisations, including global digital tech companies.

Aston University already has in place numerous strategic partnerships, including with NHS Trusts in the region and is a member of Birmingham Health Partners.