Phase 1: The foundation phase

In July 2022, University Council agreed to fund the Foundations for Digital Transformation programme. Our bid was successful thanks to the involvement and ideas from many colleagues and students during an extensive scoping stage in which we analysed and assessed University needs.

It became clear from conversations with colleagues and students that before the University can develop more ambitious digital solutions in the future, we need to put in place some of the building blocks and fix some issues with existing systems. So, our first phase is about strengthening our foundations.

Over the next eighteen months, colleagues and students should see improvements in Oxford’s digital services. These could include, expansion of digital assessment in the Exam Schools, and improvements in some of our key administrative systems for academics, researchers and administrators. Although these initial changes will not be entirely transformative, they will make life easier across collegiate Oxford.

As we facilitate the changes, the programme team is also engaging global technology firms, consultants, and advisory partners to seek insights on how other organisations are making similar step changes.

You can read more about the programme in our business case for digital foundations (SSO required).


Delivering key initiatives that will address urgent needs or lay the foundations for future transformational changes, eg connectivity and accessibility.

These interventions will resolve issues with our existing systems and processes, improve student and staff experience, reduce risk and allow greater compliance, reduce paper-based processes, improve data quality, grow our capability in cybersecurity, and start to simplify life for departments.

Investigative assignments

Analysing and testing less well-understood ideas to recommend the options and steps the University could consider to develop the appropriate solutions - particularly, any funding we may need to request for the next phase.

An example of an investigation is ‘Future proofing Wi-Fi’ to enable future network design and planning around Wi-Fi. Another example is the creation of a student hub, an app to bring together all student-related services in one place.

You can view the complete list of investigative assignments taking place. 

Competency Centres

Introducing Oxford’s new hubs of digital expertise across different parts of the University. These centres – a new concept for Oxford – will share key capabilities and enable colleagues across Oxford to create change in the future.

There will be immediate impact on the use of our existing systems and increased know-how and capability across the institution. We are currently have centres for Cybersecurity, Research Cloud and AI/ML Computing Competency Centre and Workflow and Automation.

You can learn more about Competency Centres on their individual webpages and on SharePoint. 

Creating the conditions for success

The Foundation phase is also facilitating strategic reviews exploring how the University can best fund, govern, and deliver digital experiences, services and technology in the future.

More information on the outcomes of these reviews will be communicated during 2023.

Dialogue with stakeholders

Throughout the Foundation phase and beyond, we will continue to engage academics, researchers and other colleagues, alongside students, global technology firms, management consultants and peers in higher education to develop our thinking and approach.

Get Involved

Oxford’s Digital Transformation can only be successful if our work reflects the richness of life and work all across the University. That's why we are continuously seeking views, ideas, and questions from staff and students. Please do get involved and help shape Oxford's exciting digital future. Let's talk. 

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What are we working on as part of the foundation phase?

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