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UKtech50 2021: Help us find the most influential people in UK IT

Computer Weekly’s annual search for the 50 most influential people in UK IT is on – let us know who you would like to nominate for this year’s list

Computer Weekly is launching its annual UKtech50 this week, our search for a definitive list of the movers and shakers in UK technology. We want to recognise the CIOs, industry executives, public servants and business leaders who are driving forward the digital agenda in the UK economy. 

This year, Computer Weekly is partnering with Harvey Nash, and together, our aim is to identify the 50 most influential leaders in UK IT. Whoever comes top of the list will be the person who, in the opinion of our expert judging panel and a reader vote, holds the most influence over the future of the UK tech sector in the next 12 months – and hence the future of IT professionals across the country.  

Last year, the 10th annual UKtech50 saw Demis Hassabis crowned the winner. Hassabis is co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, a company that was born under the premise that neuroscience, combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as well as other emerging technologies, could lead to powerful algorithms learning to the concept of artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Hassabis launched DeepMind in 2010 together with friends Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman, and in 2014 it was acquired by Google in 2014 for about £400m.

The concept of AGI developed by the team led by Hassabis has, in recent years, accomplished a number of other breakthroughs in areas beyond training computers to play games. This has included advancing research on AI safety and the development of a partnership with London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital for the use of AI to identify and treat degenerative eye conditions.

More recently, the company has been delving even deeper into investigating some of the most serious issues around the future of health, including work around learning to predict the 3D shapes of proteins – elements on which the human biological machinery is built.

So who will follow Hassabis’ footsteps into this year’s top 50? There will be plenty of candidates from every UK sector. With changes aplenty in digital government, and new roles and leaders emerging and making their mark, will another digital leader from Whitehall come out on top?

As the digital revolution transforms businesses and the world battles with the Covid-19 pandemic, will a CIO with game-changing IT strategies come to the fore? Or as startups grow across the country, is this the time to recognise a technology entrepreneur?

This is where we need your help. If you would like to nominate anyone you feel deserves recognition as one of the 50 most influential people in UK IT, simply complete the form below and submit your suggested individual. Nominations must be received by 8 January 2021 to be eligible for the 2021 list. The winner will be announced at a virtual event on 25 February 2021.

Special Awards

This year, Computer Weekly and Harvey Nash are also awarding a series of Special Awards to recognise achievements in specific areas. These are:

  • Public sector
  • Startups and scaleups
  • Best Covid-19 response
  • Diversity
  • CIO/IT leadership
  • Tech sector

Judging the UKtech50

The UKtech50 list will be decided by a judging panel representing every area of the UK IT profession – and we will ask readers to vote on who they think should top the list.

Our judging panel will select the top 50 candidates based on the following criteria:

  • Influence: What authority or ability does the person have – either through their personal position or the role they hold – to personally influence the development of UK IT, or to influence others in positions of authority?
  • Achievements: What has the person achieved in the past 12 months to help the development of UK IT?
  • Profile: Is the person recognised as a role model for aspiring leaders? How widely are they acknowledged by their peers as an authority and influence on UK IT?
  • Leadership: Does the person demonstrate the skills and experience necessary to be seen as a leader in the development of IT in the UK? Do they have a leadership role and does that help them develop the role of IT in the UK?
  • Potential: How likely is it that the person will have a significant impact on UK IT in the next 12 months? Will their authority and responsibility grow?

Looking back at last year’s UKtech50

  • Computer Weekly profiles the achievements and journey of the founder of one of the world’s pioneering artificial intelligence companies, after his recognition as the most influential person in UK technology for 2019.
  • Computer Weekly has announced the 10th annual UKtech50 – our definitive list of the movers and shakers in the UK tech sector.
  • Every year when Computer Weekly announces its UKtech50 list of the most influential people in UK technology, it’s an opportunity to look at what the names that feature tell us about the latest trends in the UK tech scene.
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