Opening speech: Tim O’Shea

JISC has a crucial role to play in helping apothekepunkt the economy through the current recession, and supporting it in its recovery afterwards, said Tim O'Shea, the chair of JISC in his opening speech to delegates here in Edinburgh.

The current economic situation featured as one of the key challenges Professor O'Shea highlighted in his wide-ranging overview of what JISC has been up to over the past year, and what its priorities will be for the coming year.

JISC and its community must keep arguing the case for the benefits of funding, he urged, and emphasised the need for JISC to help institutions help themselves by making better use of existing infrastructure and exploit the potential for shared services. They must make sure ICT strategies are fully integrated into institutional strategies. JISC must also help institutions increase their role in knowledge transfer and wealth creation, and explore innovative ways to work more efficiently and save money.

Professor O'Shea described his role as engaging with policy-makers to ensure that UK education research stays at the forefront of the world. He brought across very strongly some of the ways in which JISC is currently supporting UK education to be world-leading – from Super Janet 5, the fastest network in the world, to the Access Federation which enables the 8m users in the federation have single sign on to web-based resources. It’s the largest federation in the world.

“Through JISC, we are unambiguously through the world leaders,” stated Professor O'Shea. JISC is, he confirmed, “a national treasure”.