Jisc, the UK’s technology solutions organisation for higher and further education, and Eduserv, which specialises in digital transformation in local government, public bodies, healthcare, charities, higher education and emergency services, are coming together to form a unique powerhouse of world-leading expertise to benefit all UK and overseas clients.
The two charities will begin operating as one from 1 January 2019, in a move that will retain existing staff and services. The new organisation’s collective expertise will provide unparalleled technological support to more than 20 million users in several international markets such as the US, Australia and Scandinavia.
Jisc’s CEO Paul Feldman said: “This is an exciting step forward in how we support and enable the education and wider public sector, while taking advantage of the technologies driving Industry 4.0. Together, Jisc and Eduserv will have greater scope to co-create innovative products and services to meet the needs and expectations of students and citizens, without duplication of effort, time and money.
“Jisc is committed to making the UK the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world, and this aim will be bolstered with the addition of Eduserv’s expertise. As a bigger social enterprise organisation, we can invest our income into developing digital services and products that empower colleges, universities and research centres to provide students with an outstanding education experience that will set them up for the needs of the modern workplace. This merger will also allow us to help lifelong learning and research be the best it can be.”
Eduserv’s CEO Jude Sheeran, who will take up a position as trustee on the Jisc board come January, said: “In a truly digital age, it is vital for the UK that a not-for-profit, socially driven technology player of scale emerges. From our roots in education to our more recent work with government and charities, our mission has always been to enable organisations to put digital technology to work for the benefit of society. The opportunity to do exactly that is greater today than it has ever been and, as a combined entity, we believe that we can have a substantially greater impact and help develop the UK’s standing as a true powerhouse of digital technology. This merger will give the public and third sectors access to more, better and potentially lower cost technology services and digital knowledge transfer at scale, as well as a strong, ‘top-table’ advocate for digital progression.”
For members and customers, there will be a greater range of services to choose from with Chest, OpenAthens and Eduserv Cloud Solutions creating a strong portfolio of services with Jisc’s current offer. The new organisation will be more influential in its aim to make the UK the most digitally advanced nation in the world; it will have more influence in governmental organisations and its collective buying power will have more clout when negotiating deals.
Besides its portfolio of more than 100 products and services, Jisc operates the national research and education network, Janet, and has a staff of more than 620 principally in London, Manchester, Harwell and Bristol. Eduserv has 100 Bristol-based employees and focusses on digital transformation, identity and access management, licensing and cloud solutions.
The 220 Jisc staff at its central Bristol office will stay in situ until refurbishment is complete at Eduserv’s building in the city, forecasted to be completed in autumn 2019. Jisc and Eduserv will keep their individual identities and websites after 1 January 2019, although in time, the new entity will be brought together under the Jisc brand.