Support 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. Across the University, we are finding new ways to use existing tools and identifying improvements to processes and services, as well as inventing new tools.

Identifying and supporting digital innovation

The Digital Innovation team in IT Services identifies and evaluates emerging technologies to improve research, teaching and learning and business processes in the University. We are interested in technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality or artificial intelligence, but we also try to keep abreast of what is happening in other fields such as cloud computing, cybersecurity or the internet of things. Other IT Services teams play 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.

Innovation opportunities

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 (use SSO to view).  Find out more about our key activities and opportunities for staff and students across Oxford University by following the links below.

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We are responsible for Oxford Ideas, an idea evaluation platform available to everyone in the University that is used to gather new ideas, co-create new projects or to involve others in strategic decisions or visioning. We manage access to this resource and offer support for the entire idea lifecycle from idea generation to exploitation.

A telescope pointed towards the horizon

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

People looking at a tablet by John Cairns

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 to share advice and support to their 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 IT innovation at Oxford. More information is available below. 

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We administer the University’s IT Innovation Seed Fund which is a limited pocket of funding to support small start-up digital projects that will bring a benefit to the University. We offer two levels of support:

  • kickstarting brand-new ideas with innovation value
  • helping to consolidate existing innovation projects

Nurturing new ideas in this way has 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. 

Staff and students are invited to submit ideas for projects which will enhance the staff or student experience at Oxford through digital means. Email us to find out more about IT innovation projects at Oxford University.

The XR Files is a webinar series discussing the development of immersive technologies in academia. Open to all University members with an interest in immersive technologies, the series includes 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.

The XR files webinars run on a monthly basis and are advertised through our news and events section (see below) and on the What's on page of our IT Learning Centre website. Recorded sessions are available also - contact us for more information. 

Find out more about 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.  

Related links

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.