Charity: University of Bath
Project: The Hebron and Medlock Professor of Information Technology
Grants: Endowment fund set up in 1985 to fund the chair in perpetuity. The value of the fund reached over £1.2m in 2020.
- Helped the Department of Computer Science grow from six to more than 41 staff since 1985
- Helped the University of Bath achieve a gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2017
- Helped establish the International Collegiate Programming Contest for universities in the UK and Ireland
In 1985 the Medlock Charitable Trust gifted the University of Bath with an endowment to fund a new chair – the Hebron and Medlock Professor of Information Technology.
James Davenport was appointed to the role the following year tasked with growing and developing the University’s computing department.
He joined a team of just six staff making up the smallest academic group in the School of Mathematical Sciences, leading the School between 1991 and 94. Now 30 years on, the Department of Computer Science boasts 41 staff and is still growing.
Stepping up to the then Vice-Chancellor’s challenge to ‘develop academic quality assurance’, Professor Davenport was instrumental in building the structures and processes that saw the University successfully through its first academic audit. This provided the momentum that led to Bath achieving a gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2017.
In 2011, when two students set their sights on the International Collegiate Programming Contest for universities, Professor Davenport took them to the Northwest Europe semi-final.
Britain was very under-represented in the competition at the time, sending only five teams with no organisation or internal structure. Professor Davenport worked with others to launch a UK and Ireland contest which fed into the Northwest Europe competition. This has now grown to 140 teams competing from 20 universities across the UK and Ireland with 30 of these teams attending the 2019 semi-final.
The semi-final competition was hosted at the University of Bath in 2016 and 17 when more than 400 students and coaches competed at 120 computers within the Sports Training Village on campus.
At the 2019 World Finals, Professor Davenport was presented with the Distinguished European Leadership Award for his contributions to the competition.
When challenged by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research to build High-Performance Computing at Bath in 2007, Professor Davenport purchased the initial machine then built a user community, support team and secured Bath’s involvement in the award-winning regional machine Isambard. He is currently leading the investigation of a cloud solution to the future provision of High-Performance Computing.