Liz Bacon



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Personal profile

Personal profile

I am the Principal and  Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University. I am also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Chartered Engineer (CEng), Chartered Scientist (CSci), Chartered IT Professional (CITP), Fellow of the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS), Fellow of the Institute of Science & Technology (FIScT) and a Professional Member of the ACM. I am an experienced systems designer and developer with research interests which include smart systems, security, artificial intelligence and technology enhanced learning, in particular the use of smart games-based learning environments for immersive learning.

I have a degree in Computing Science and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, and prior to working at Abertay, I worked at the University of Greenwich. I am currently a Trustee and Director of Bletchley Park Trust, and President of EQANIE (European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education). I was President of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, in the year 14-15, the inaugural Chair of the BCS Academy of Computing, and a past chair of the CPHC (Council of Professors and Heads of Computing) national committee. I have been involved in many professional activities during my career which include working with: the European Commission, OECD, e-skills UK, the Science Council, the National HE STEM programme, and a role as Communications Officer for the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM). As well as chairing many accreditation events for BCS and the Science Council, I have undertaken international accreditations in Spain, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Oman, Bahrain and Kazakhstan on behalf of several international accreditation agencies. I have also been an ICT Thought Leader for the University of Cambridge’s International Examinations. Other external engagements include / have included: member of the JISC senior technology-enhanced learning committee, member of the Welsh Government’s Successful Futures Digital Quality Assurance group, member of the Athena Forum and member of the Governing Board of Global Science and Technology Forum (Singapore). I have held nine external examiner positions including one international.

My research, primarily focused on technology for immersive learning, has focused on application areas such as crisis management and eHealth. I have over 100 refereed publications and have given over 85 keynotes and invited talks across the world. I have generated significant research grant income which include two EU FP7 projects (was project coordinator for both) and two EU H2020 projects. In 2015 I was voted the 35th Most Influential Woman in UK IT (Computer Weekly). I have been involved with a number of high profile reports such as a Royal Society report on the state of computing in schools, a Royal Academy of Engineering report on the Universe of Engineering and several European Commission publications on: e-Skills global supply and demand, an EU Body of Knowledge for IT, and guidelines for fostering e-Leadership. I was a TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) assessor for institutional years two and three and have been a member of the QAA committees developing / reviewing subject benchmark statements for both undergraduate and postgraduate in computing. I have also been trained as an ELIR (Enhancement-led Institutional Review) reviewer for QAA Scotland. I have been a visiting Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne in the School of Science, College of Science, Engineering and Health and as BCS President, I setup STELLAR, a senior women’s network in STEM which is focused on encouraging more women to take up careers in STEM.

Research interests

My research interests include immersive learning, smart systems, computing policy, smart systems, security, artificial intelligence, teaching programming and technology enhanced learning (TEL). Within TEL, I have applied my research in software engineering, artificial intelligence and security to a range of application areas such as crisis management and eHealth, focusing on: smart games-based learning environments; metacognition and learning strategies; adaptable, adaptive and personalised systems; and the use of social media in online learning.


Key esteem indicators:

  • President of EQANIE (European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education), 2018 – 2021.
  • President of professional body BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (2014-15), and trustee (>70K members and ~250 full-time staff), 2014-15, trustee 2009-2016.
  • Voted the 35th Most Influential Woman in UK IT (Computer Weekly July 2015).
  • Vice-President of BCS and inaugural chair of the BCS Academy of Computing, the first Learned Society for Computing in the UK (2009-2014).
  • Trustee and Director of Bletchley Park Trust (2017–to-date).
  • Chair of the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (2009-10)
  • Committee member for high profile national and International reports e.g. Royal Society and European Commission reports

Research Supervision

PhD supervisions:

  1. “A Study into the Characteristics of Game-Based Learning Software that Appeal to 11-14 Year Old Girls”, November 2017.
  2. “Empirical evidence that proves a serious game is an educationally effective tool for learning computer programming constructs at the computational thinking level”, July 2013.
  3. “Design, Development And Evaluation Of Technology Enhanced Learning Environments: Learning Styles As An Evaluation Tool For Metacognitive Skills”, Dec 2012.
  4. “Multiple, Heterogeneous Case Based Reasoning”, Dec 2012.
  5. “Impact of learner control on learning in adaptable and personalised e‑learning environments”, Feb 2011.
  6. “Intelligent Monitoring of Business Processes using Case-Based Reasoning”, Nov 2012.
  7. “The use of tagging to support the authoring of personalisable learning content”, July 2012.

MPhil Supervisions:

  1. “Modeling Trust in the System Design Process of an Information System”, November 2017.
  2. “Analysing Usability and Security Issues in Design and Development of Information Systems” Feb 2013.


Current teaching responsibilities are focused on PhD student supervision, however in the past I have taught the following topics within computer science: Systems Analysis, Personal and Professional Skills, Business Computing, Range of Programming, Scripting and Markup languages (Java, C++, VB, XML, HTML, Visual Basic, Modula-2, COBOL, FORTRAN, Assembler), Networking, Computer Games Development, Computer Theory, Software Engineering, Component Programming, Distributed Systems, Expert Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, UML, Systems Software, Operating Systems, CORBA, J2EE, EJB, Design Patterns, XML, Web services, Spring and Struts frameworks, Mobile Application Development.


I have generated over 1.6 million in income from over 50 large and small research, consultancy and knowledge exchange grants. A sample of the grants are provided below:





Oct 2016

Cornell Roybal Center Aging ePainCare Consensus Conference,  New York 7th April 2017


National Institute on Ageing (part of NIH), (R13AG053044) and program project (P30AG022845)

Conference Grant and Howard and Phyllis Schwartz Philanthropic Fund. 

37,500 US dollars


April 2016 – March 2018

Newton fund bid – Aconcagua Knowledge Destination: A framework for a Special Interest Tourism Management Planning in Aconcagua Valley, Chile



Dec 2015 – Dec 2016


Phase 2 of the Monitor project identified below, to extend the tourism system to the whole of Norway.

350K Norwegian Kroner, ~£30K


1st May 2016 – 30th April 2020

H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) project called GEO-SAFE (Geospatial based Environment for an Optimisation System Addressing Fire Emergencies). Focus is exchanges with Australia and Corsica. 13 participants. Grant agreement number 691161.

€1,080,000 EU contribution, €153,000 to Greenwich.


Sept 2015 – August 2018

H2020 EU project TRILLION (TRusted, CItizen - LEA coILaboratIon over sOcial Networks), 13 partners. Grant agreement no: 653256

€4,263,408, €335,513 to Greenwich.


1/4/14 – 31/3/16

EU FP7 project Pop-Alert preparation of societies and populations to cope with crisis and disasters. 11 Partner project generating 998,848.38 Euros of funding. Grant agreement no: 608030.


Project Coordinator and Greenwich Principal Investigator

Autumn 2013

Maritime City funded by South London Membership Council Innovation, Diffusion and Excellence Awards in Healthcare Education and Training

South London Membership Council £39,555.60


1/11/13 – 31/10/15

EU Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme: SocialiseIT: Social Workplace Learning Using CCD. 8 partner project worth 299,390 Euros.

Greenwich funding €44,347.

Principal Investigator

July 2013 – Dec 2015

Monitor Project in conjunction with Buskerud University College, Kongsberg, Norway. Development of a management system for the tourism industry using data warehouse and dashboards to measure the development of the tourism industry in Norway. Worth 1 million Norwegian Kroner.



Jan 2010-March 2012

EU FP7 project PANDORA. Advanced training environment for crisis scenarios. 10 European partners. Grant agreement no: 225387

€2.93million, Greenwich allocation €340,423

Principal Investigator. Overall project coordinator.

Sept 2001 to August 2003

Partner in a European funded research project “Model for a European Networked University for e-learning”. 10 other European institutions were involved. Greenwich. Co-investigator. Grant Agreement number 2000 -0510 / 001 - 001 EDU-ELEARN.

European Commission £30,000

Principal Investigator (joint)

Sept 98 to August 00

Partner in a European funded research project EuroCompetence “A university - workplace model for developing knowledge for European Collaboration”. Six other European institutions were involved. Project number 56544-CP-1-98-1-NO-ODL-ODL. Worth 500K Euros overall.

European Commission £35,000 (45k Euros)

Principal Investigator (joint)


Knowledge Exchange

I have been involved in a range of knowledge exchange activities throughout my career, including being the lead academic for last year of a KTP with Rainer, renamed Catch 22, one of the UK’s largest charities dealing with some 20,000 young people. The work involved reengineering complex systems used in social domains and was graded A by the external reviewers. I have worked extensively with industry throughout my career e.g. working with Greenwich Council on their smart cities projects, and have provided expertise to a variety of industry, professional and parliamentary bodies in the UK and overseas.


I have been involved in a variety of outreach activities throughout my career. These include: talks to school pupil, taster sessions, talks to employers, acting as a role model for women in computing, helping to set up over 200 computing hubs around the UK (with my professional body) to train school teachers to teach computing in the curriculum.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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