2023 will likely be known as the year that generative AI went mainstream. With new tools and versions dropping almost daily, the rate of learning in society is not keeping up with a pace now set by big technology companies. And while the explosion of tools and interest levels continue to move markets, typified by the abilities of the latest versions of ChatGPT, the possibilities they bring quickly begin to feel overwhelming.

With generative AI tools launched on an unsuspecting public seemingly out of nowhere, universities around the world have been caught off guard. Despite much of the underpinning research behind these tools having taken place by researchers in universities, few outside the AI world would have predicted that the applications would have made so much progress so quickly, or come to market in such spectacular fashion, with such far reaching consequences for teaching, assessment and research.

For the UK context at least, all this highlights wider concerns about the sector’s trajectory – with funding declining year on year and a big scramble to keep up with students’ needs, with the inevitable pressure that comes with doing more with less, there is already debate about the role of academics in student support, the best way to conduct assessment and feedback, and the scope and scale of academic research output. Generative AI has suddenly become a part of these conversations, adding an additional degree of uncertainty and complexity.

Whether this AI moment turns out to be a revolution will be judged by history, the questions it is posing and the immediate challenges that it brings have rocketed to the top of every university’s agenda and we at Wonkhe, like everyone else, are working to keep up.

At this half day online event, we will run down everything you need to know about generative AI and its uses (and abuses) in higher education today as well as what might be coming down the track. We’ll also look again at some of the big debates in HE in the light of generative AI – how it might change the world of learning, teaching, assessment, research, knowledge exchange and more.


9.30 Introduction: what can generative AI do now – what can’t it – and what might it do in the future?

Chair: Mark Leach, with Jim Dickinson

9.50  The policy context: hopes and fears for AI

Chair: Debbie McVitty, with Areeq Chowdhury, Head of Policy, Data, The Royal Society.

10.20 Generative AI in teaching and assessment – opportunities, risks, and equity

Chair: Jim Dickinson with Debby Cotton, Director of Academic Practice and Professor of Higher Education, Plymouth Marjon; Iliada Eleftheriou, Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Sciences, University of Manchester; Eve Alcock, Head of Public Affair, QAA; and Raghav Sandhu, Senior Product Manager, Kortext.

11.15 Break

11.30 Could generative AI change how universities work?

Chair: Debbie McVitty, with Stephen Booth, Director of Digital Services, Coventry University

12.00 What can universities be doing now to prepare for the AI revolution?

Chair: Mark Leach, with Heidi Fraser-Krauss, Chief Executive, Jisc, and Paul Henninger, Head of Connected Technology, KPMG


  • Heidi Fraser-Krauss

    Chief Executive Officer, Jisc

    Heidi is Chief Executive Officer at Jisc.

  • Debby Cotton

    Director of Academic Practice & Professor of Higher Education, Plymouth Marjon University

    Debby is Director of Academic Practice & Professor of Higher Education at Plymouth Marjon University.

  • Areeq Chowdhury

    Head of Policy, Data, The Royal Society

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  • Stephen Booth

    Director of Digital Services, Coventry University

    Stephen is Director of Digital Services at Coventry University.

  • Iliada Eleftheriou

    Senior lecturer in Healthcare Sciences, University of Manchester

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  • Paul Henninger

    Partner, Head of UK Connected Technology & Global Lighthouse, KPMG

    Paul is Partner, Head of UK Connected Technology & Global Lighthouse at KPMG.

  • Eve Alcock

    Director of public affairs, QAA
  • Raghav Sandhu

    Senior product manager and user experience and AI lead, Kortext

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  • Mark Leach

    Founder & Editor in Chief, Wonkhe and former Labour adviser

    Mark Leach is the founder, Editor in Chief and CEO of Wonkhe. Mark worked in policy, politics and public affairs in and around UK higher education and founded Wonkhe in 2011 while working as a jobbing policy wonk in the sector. The first part of his career took him to the National Union of Students, … Continued

  • Debbie McVitty

    Editor, Wonkhe

    Debbie McVitty, Editor, Wonkhe

  • Jim Dickinson

    Associate Editor, Wonkhe

    Jim is an Associate Editor at Wonkhe and takes a particular interest in the student experience, university governance, and regulation – and leads our work with students’ unions. His career background is in support for student leadership. He has held senior roles at the National Union of Students – where he led on SU development, … Continued