Dr Jo Twist OBE speaking at Staffordshire University London

Our Industry Champions

We work hand-in-hand with leading professionals from games, computing and the wider tech sector. This ensures our courses remain up-to-date, meet employers’ needs and adapt as the world evolves.

Our industry contacts also include a huge network of Staffordshire University graduates who have gone on to successful careers. With all these connections, you’ll be well placed for your future career.

Meet some of our digital champions.


Bhavin Bhagalia - Coursera

Bhavin Bhagalia is the Partnership Director for Coursera for Campus for EMEA, with a particular focus in cultivating relationships in Italy, and East and Central Africa. Bhavin has been working in the EdTech sector since 2004, starting with e-learning courses for GCSE students, before moving to the Education team at Gartner advising UK Universities on their digital transformation strategies.

Prior to joining Coursera Bhavin spent 3 years at Microsoft as a sector lead for further and higher education, supporting student innovation panels as a judge for Birmingham City University; mentoring candidates back to work with the DWP, and rapidly increasing both the move to cloud technology and development of cloud based skills for students and staff.

Bhavin holds a BSc (Hons) in Multimedia Technology from the University of Hertfordshire, and continues his passion for technology through gaming and IoT.

Bhavin Bhagalia


Ian Gardner - IBM

Ian has over 25 years’ consulting experience on large-scale, complex projects and has worked for IBM for 20 years. He is a Distinguished Technical Specialist, Certified Technical Specialist, Expert Solutions Specialist and, an IBM Academic Ambassador.  He is a chartered member of the British Computer Society.  On top of this he is a member of the IBM Academy of technology (AOT) which is a community of the best technical minds in IBM who provide innovation, technical advice and critiques as well as supporting cultural change across all business units and across the globe.

For the past five years Ian has led a large, high-profile proof of concept to create the factory of the future using industry 4.0 principles. This was the reference project in the 2017 UK Government’s Made Smarter Report.  In 2018 he was a finalist in the Times Management Consultancy Association (MCA) awards.

He works closely with the UK High Value Catapult Centres such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).  His role as an academic ambassador means that he works closely with Universities.  He is Chair of the Sheffield University Industrial Advisory Board, a member of the Staffordshire University Advisory Board and has lectured at Imperial College.

Ian Gardner


Miles Jacobson OBE

Miles Jacobson OBE is Studio Director of Sports Interactive (SI), the studio behind the best-selling Football Manager series. Miles has been involved with SI for more than 20 years and has been running the studio since 1999. Under Miles’ management, SI has grown from a fledgling start-up to become one of the best-known names in UK game development, with a staff of more than 100 and a network of more than 1,300 scouts across the globe.

SI has ongoing relationships with some of the biggest names in professional football, including the Bundesliga, the EFL, the League Managers Association and many other leagues and associations around the world. SI became a wholly owned subsidiary of SEGA in 2006. Further information on the company and its games is available at www.sigames.com. In addition to his work with SI, Miles is also active in the UK games trade body, UKIE (http://ukie.org.uk/) and is involved in a number of charities including War Child UK (https://www.warchild.org.uk/) and Nordoff Robbins (https://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/).

Miles Jacobson OBE


Sam Cooke

Co-founder and Managing Director of Esports Insider, the global B2B esports industry news platform, agency, events and media company.

Sam is also Co-Founder of the WFH League, and an advisor to other companies in the space. He has spoken at events including the World Gaming Executive Summit, the Asia Licensing Conference, Samsung KX, PGC and more.

sam cooke version 2

Andrew Roughan - Plexal/Lorca

Andrew havs spent the predominant part of his career in Technology Service Providers within the telecoms and data centre sectors, driving business transformation for clients. As a result, he brings a fresh approach to the traditional corporate real estate market in London

Andrew first got involved with Here East in 2011 where he was a founding member of the bid team who successfully acquired a 200-year lease from the London Legacy Development Corporation to transform the former Press and Broadcast Centres on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

His role makes him responsible for creating the eco-system and community where large and small companies collide, allowing them to benefit from one another’s scale and creativity, together with ensuring delivery of the Legacy goals that Here East aspires to.

Andrew Roughan

Jamy Nigri - Birdstack

No college degree. Completely self-taught via a library card. Jamy feels that having the world’s information at one’s fingertips via a mobile device doesn’t make one smart — it just means ‘easy.’ After the better part of a decade in F2P and publishing globally, the only thing Jamy knows for sure is that gaming moves so fast — that a seat belt is needed.  

Pre gaming, Jamy worked for a Fortune 100 company [Disney], founded 7 companies on 3 continents, ran an airline and was a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security. None of which is as cool as gaming! 

Jamy Nigri

Tom Sweeney - The Story Mob

Tom Sweeney is an award-winning games and esports industry leader in communications, social, and community management. Sweeney has held roles as Brand & Communications Director for competitive gaming platform FACEIT, and as Head of Community Management for RuneScape developer Jagex Games Studio.

He also has rich experience working in agencies including running Social Chain’s gaming division - where he built the world's most viewed social media gaming community, as well as holding the role of Managing Director of specialist games and sports media publisher Kyma Media working with clients such as JBL Audio, Rovio, Heinz, and Epic Games. Tom currently works at The Story Mob - the communications consultancy for gaming culture - as their Associate Director for EMEA, where he leads on gaming and esports.

Tom Sweeny

Perry Smith - Right Formula

Perry is Business Director for Esports at Right Formula, a sports and entertainment marketing consultancy based out of London. Perry’s works across all of Right Formula esports operations to existing and new clients to help them drive business performance within the space.

Perry had previously been Director of Partnerships at GINX TV and has been a passionate member of the esports industry for a number of years.

Perry Smith

Jamie Smith

Jamie is tech entrepreneur and owner of a portfolio of cloud based technology companies including a leading Google Workspace for Education and Technology Integration Partner serving over 3000 clients in more than 30 countries globally where he is currently Executive Chairman.

Passionate about education Jamie has more than two decades of experience at Board level in schools, colleges and universities and more widely is a published author in the field of wealth creation where his book is available on Amazon.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a TEDx speaker. He is also a proud alumni of Staffordshire University. Typical day involves helping people to work in a smarter and more sustainable way. 

JS (1)


in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021