Digital solutions to tackle business & society’s challenges – public lecture by Prof Abdul Sadka


The latest inaugural lecture at Aston University will highlight why we will all benefit from the rise of interdisciplinary research and innovation and how higher education can close the digital skills gap.

Professor Abdul Sadka, an expert in AI-enabled visual media technologies, will discuss some of the many so-called ‘challenge-based projects’ he has led which have helped improve healthcare, cultural heritage and smart industry.

The Professor will discuss how research in the 21st century is measured by how well it helps solve society’s problems and improve business. He will highlight that this change has occurred partly because experts in diverse fields are increasingly collaborating to discover solutions.

Professor Sadka said: “Research and innovation are vital to improving the healthcare we receive, the communities we serve and cultural opportunities we face around us as well as the digital skill gap we are seeing sector wide.

“Modern academic research goes well beyond creating new discoveries that push the state of the art in relevant disciplines and documenting its findings in high quality publications. 

“The success of work today is measured primarily by its well proven ability to integrate multiple disciplinary talents and exploit interdisciplinary expertise to generate targeted impact at scale for providing solutions to pressing societal and sectoral challenges.”

Also, he will discuss one of the biggest problems facing employers today - the digital skill gap – and the vital role that universities can play within key specialisms.

His lecture will draw on examples of tackling challenges within medical imaging diagnostics, mental health support, preservation of the world’s cultural heritage, flaw detection in structures, human machine interaction and enhanced visual experience.

Professor Sadka joined the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences in September 2023 as Professor of Visual Media Technologies and Director of Aston Digital Futures Institute. 

He has 27 years of experience in senior academic leadership and pioneering contributions to AI-enabled visual media technologies. Throughout his career he has been committed to business engagement, knowledge transfer and high impact innovations. 

Professor Sadka is a chartered computer and communications engineer with 26 years of experience in senior academic leadership and pioneering contributions to the area of AI-enabled visual media technologies. His career is underlined by a commitment to business engagement, knowledge transfer and high impact output. 

He has been the Director of the Institute of Digital Futures at Brunel University London (2020 to 23) where he also served as the Founding Director of Brunel Digital Science & Technology Hub (2018 to 20), Director of the Centre for Media Communications Research (2012 to 18) and Head of Electronic & Computer Engineering (2006 to 12), then also encompassing the ‘Digital Media’ division at Brunel.

He has filed patents and published widely including the seminal textbook, Compressed Video Communications, which is recommended by numerous universities and research centres worldwide.

The free event will take place on the University campus at Susan Cadbury Lecture Theatre on Thursday 22 February from 6.30pm to 7.30pm and will be followed by a drinks reception. The event can also be viewed online.

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