13-15 March 2020

City, University London

Achieving Drupal at Scale in UK Higher Education - Panel Conversation


Whilst panelists represent HE establishments, agencies, developers and client side stakeholders across any industry sector will find this session illuminating as many of the themes to be covered are applicable to any organisation approaching large digital project.

Even if you are at the very start of your journey, regardless of your technical level this session will have valuable takeaways and different perspectives from organisations of widely ranging scale, approach to digital and applications being served by Drupal.

Session details


Paul Johnson, Director and HE Specialist, CTI Digital


Iain Harper Head Of Digital, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Iain started his career at leading medical insurer MPS, developing their first online presence. He then ran digital projects at leading CSR consultancy Business in the Community before joining the Civil Service. Working within the government, worked with the Government Digital Service on Alphagov, the precursor to GOV.UK. He then joined Erskine Design, a small digital agency based in Nottingham where he supervised work with the BBC on their Global Experience Language (GEL). He now leads the digital team at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.

Adrian Ellison, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor & Chief Information Officer University of West London

Responsible for Registry, IT and Library services, Adrian has been working in information technology in higher education for over 20 years. He joined UWL in 2012 from the London School of Economics, where he was Assistant Director, IT Services. Prior to that, he was IT Director at Royal Holloway, University of London, and held a number of roles at the University of Leeds. Before that he worked in the graphics and publishing industry.

Adrian is a member of the UCISA Executive Committee, representing the voice of IT in UK education. He has spoken about information technology at national and international conferences and events and co-wrote/edited the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s 'Getting to Grips with Information and Communications Technology' and UCISA’s ‘Social Media Toolkit: a practical guide to achieving benefits and managing risks’.

Billy Wardrop, CMS Service Support Officer at Edinburgh University

Technical lead for the migration to Drupal 8 of the central Drupal CMS at The University of Edinburgh. Billy is a Senior Developer with 15+ years experience in developing web applications and supporting large scale systems. He has worked with many platforms but his passion lies in developing websites and web applications using open source such as Drupal, PHP, JavaScript and Python. Billy is an advocate in growing the open source community. As part of his role in the university I regularly mentor at events and encourage software contribution.


The Higher Education (HE) sector is fiercely competitive on the domestic and global stage rendering the reach of their digital presence as essential. However advancements in alternative education paths, increased regulation in terms of GDPR, information security, and new accessibility laws place an additional burden on universities in the digital space.
HE establishments are increasingly turning to Drupal to combat the challenges faced, and introduce greater agility. They aim to deliver user-centred digital experiences that support student recruitment, grow their reputation in academic research and diversify incomes.

This panel conversation is a rare opportunity to bring together stakeholders from the University of West London, Edinburgh University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Saïd Business School. All have unique perspectives on similar problems, representing organisations having differing cohorts, scale and complexity, age and legacy systems.

What is the role of Drupal in ensuring each University prospers in this new era where digital is so crucial to the existence of HE? How do approaches vary between institutions. What pitfalls and benefits have they encountered?





Acquia - Experience digital freedom
Agiledrop - Trusted Drupal teammates

Weekend Keynote Speakers

Kevin Bridges


Michel van Velde

One Shoe, CEO

Nick Veenhof

Dropsolid, CTO

CxO Keynote Speakers

Kevin Bridges


Michel van Velde

One Shoe, CEO

Greg Harvey

Code Enigma, Director

Rachel Lawson

Drupal Association, Community Liaison

Carrie Lacina

Drupal Association, Fund Development Director

Jeffrey A. “jam” McGuire

Open Strategy Partners, Partner

Tracy Evans

Open Strategy Partners, Partner

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