2018 Opening plenary

Read an overview of the opening plenary in 2018:

Wednesday 27 June 2018, 2-3.30pm

Chair: Prof Koen Lamberts, Vice Chancellor and President, University of York and Chair of UKCISA’s Board of Trustees

Koen is Vice-Chancellor & President of the University of York. He is Chair of the N8 Research Partnership, Chair of the Employers Pension Forum for Higher Education. He is also Deputy Chair and a Board Member of The Russell Group, the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, the Outward Mobility Strategy Board, Universities and Colleges Employers Association, the White Rose University Consortium, the Worldwide Universities Network and Yorkshire Universities.

Koen was born in Hasselt, Belgium, he holds undergraduate degrees in Philosophy (1985) and Psychology (1987) and a PhD in Experimental Psychology (1992) from the University of Leuven.

Following a research appointment at the University of Chicago, he became a lecturer at the University of Birmingham in 1992. He was Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Warwick from 2000 to 2013. At Warwick, he served as Faculty Chair for Science, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (Science & Medicine) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost.

Koen has a track record of experimental research into cognitive processes in perception, memory and decision making, and of mathematical and computational modelling of these processes. He has collaborated with commercial and industrial partners in applied research that has focused on consumer behaviour and product design. He was a recipient of the British Psychological Society’s Cognitive Award (1996) and of the Experimental Psychology Society Prize (1997).


Welcome to conference and welcome to Scotland

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in the Scottish Government and MSP for Perthshire North

John Swinney was educated at Forrester High School and the University of Edinburgh. He graduated in 1986 as a Master of Arts with Honours in Politics.

Prior to his election to the Westminster Parliament in 1997, John was employed as Strategic Planning Principal with Scottish Amicable and was a business and economic development consultant for five years.

John joined the SNP in 1979 at the age of 15 and has held a number of posts within the Party at local and national level. He has been the National Secretary, Vice Convener for Publicity and Deputy Leader before leading the party from 2000-2004.

John was elected as the Member of Parliament for North Tayside on in 1997, and in 1999 he was elected as the Member of the Scottish Parliament for North Tayside. He was re-elected in 2016 as MSP for Perthshire North.

John is a member of the SNP Scottish Government and was the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth from 2007-2014. In November 2014 he was appointed as Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and the Economy.

After the Scottish Parliament election in 2016 John was re-appointed as the Deputy First Minister and is now the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.



Keynote speaker: Dr Esther Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA (The Association of International Educators, USA)

Changing lives for good – The US experience: triumphs and challenges

Dr. Brimmer is the Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

She has been the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

She served in the Department of State three times, including as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs.

Earlier in her career she was Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

She has published numerous articles and edited eight books on transatlantic relations. Her work has been translated into five languages.

She is a member of the Department of Defense National Security Education Board and the Executive Board of the Atlantic Council.

She received her doctorate and master's degrees in international relations from Oxford University and her bachelor's degree from Pomona College.


UKCISA gratefully acknowledges the support
received from the Scottish Government.