Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Leaders of Digital Revolution to take the campaign to West Midlands business

Three of the country’s leading figures in the development and use of digital media have been signed up to highlight how small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands can take advantage of digital media. Anthony Lilley, Dr Jon Salkeld and Dr Adam Rutherford will be the keynote speakers at the ‘Using Digital Media in Marketing and Communications’ conference to be staged by at Alton Towers on Tuesday 18th March.

Anthony Lilley is Chief Creative Officer of Magic Lantern, a multi-award winning company which creates engaging interactive media with clients and partners including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Google. He is a member of the Content Board of OFCOM (the communications industry regulator); has a regular column in the MediaGuardian and is also the appointed News International Visiting Professor of Broadcast Media at the University of Oxford.

Dr Jon Salkeld is the Managing Director of QinetiQ’s Optronics Division. QinetiQ is one of Europe's largest science and technology solutions providers, and employ many of today’s leading scientists and internationally acclaimed experts. The Optronics division undertakes major programmes in MEMS, semiconductors, optical systems, thermal and MMW imaging.

Dr Adam Rutherford is the Editor, Web Publishing at Nature, which is the top international weekly science magazine publishing research, news and features covering all fields of science. A genetics expert, he also featured in Channel 4’s Men in White series. The speaker line up will be complemented by a range of interactive workshops.

The Conference has been organised by the team behind (, an innovative online video channel designed to promote science and innovation from the region. The channel has been developed by the University of Warwick, the region’s foremost research university and one of the UK’s leading edge independent TV and New Media producers Maverick Television, whose current programming includes How to Look Good Naked, Embarrassing Illnesses, 4Homes and Ten Years Younger. The project is also supported by the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM). is one of the major initiatives from Birmingham Science City, which aims to develop and use science and technology to improve the prosperity and quality of life of the city-region, the West Midlands and the UK.

Dr Norman Price, Head of Birmingham Science City said:

"Birmingham has long had an enviable reputation for developing some of the world’s most important inventions and scientific breakthroughs, and now is helping to put the West Midlands firmly on the digital map. A whole host of businesses specialising in producing and distributing digital content have emerged in the last ten years, while other companies like independent production companies have built up digital expertise of their own. Birmingham is rapidly establishing itself as a major force in the digital media landscape and this conference will help regional SMEs capitalise on this."

Jonnie Turpie, founder and digital media director at Maverick Television said:

"It's an exciting time to be here - Birmingham has embraced digital media, not just in the city itself but across the West Midlands region. We're seeing lots of projects happening across the city region that are pilots and test beds for new sorts of commercial and public service content, that local and global markets are demanding. We hope that and the conference will help to further this trend."

The conference will take place on Tuesday March 18 at Alton Towers, Staffordshire. The conference is free to attend, with each ticket valued at £550, for businesses employing up to 250 people. To attend the conference, or for further information please email or go to

Media enquiries

Sam Parsons, Maverick Television
0121 224 8346

About, an online video channel. The channel will showcase innovative science-based business and research taking place across the Birmingham Science City region, with the aim of promoting and de-mystifying science and enterprise for a wide audience.

Working with the core themes of energy, medicine & health, digital media, automotive and materials science the channel will feature inspirational projects which improve everyday lives and encourage more people to get involved with science. Features are already online but new ones will be added each week.

Forthcoming programmes include: Fast Forward a schools sportscar design project; Battling Obesity; BioCote, the smart fabrics helping to fight superbugs; Per Lindstrand’s new inflatable cinema and Serious Games Institue international launch conference. Good Vibrations a collaboration between Birmingham University’s centre for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. And transport features Lord Drayson’s Green Triumph with bioethanol fuelled Aston Martin and The JCB Dieselmax - the fastest diesel car in the world.

The audience for the channel is wide, ranging from school children to businesses and from the general public to experts in the field of science and technology. The ultimate goal of the channel is to provide a forum for communication, which can cater for different levels of interest and knowledge and contribute to the region’s world-class scientific research and production base.

In addition to content, the channel also encourages people to send in their own user-generated content and to contribute to the range of online debates. It will also feature content from the Research TV and iCast archives. A series of events will take place over the next few months to promote the channel. Visit for further details.

The project is a collaborative initiative between Warwick University and Birmingham-based Maverick Television.

Phase one of the project has been funded by regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM), as part of the Birmingham Science City initiative, which aims to establish the West Midlands region as a centre for world-class scientific research.

About Birmingham Science City

In 2005 the Government defined Science Cities as "those with strong science-based assets – such as a major university or centre of research excellence – which have particular potential …[to] attract a critical mass of innovative businesses and become drivers of regional growth".

Six Science Cities have been announced to date (Manchester, York and Newcastle in 2004; Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol in 2005). Their aim is to develop city-based strategies to exploit centres of world-class scientific research. This will be achieved by, among other things, developing policies on knowledge transfer, business support, skills, infrastructure, and communication links. These strategies will also promote a closer partnership between RDAs, city government, local businesses, and the research base. The Science Cities have recently adopted the concept of ‘helping to deliver Quality of Life based on science and technological innovation’

About Advantage West Midlands

Advantage West Midlands is the Regional Development Agency (RDA) for the West Midlands. We are one of nine RDAs in England that were established to transform the English regions through sustainable economic development.

Our role is to lead the economic development of the West Midlands, working alongside a wide range of public, private and voluntary sectors partners to help our region to prosper - building upon our many strengths and addressing our unique challenges.

Advantage West Midlands has an annual budget of more than £300 million to invest in the economic development of the West Midlands and, at any one time, is managing around 2,500 projects which are changing the lives of people right across our region.

We drive economic development by identifying where the greatest impact can be made either by targeting need or investing in success.

Our key task is to provide leadership for the development and delivery of the West Midlands Economic Strategy – the framework for our region’s growth. This enables us to leverage and maximise investment into our region and thereby create a far greater impact than we could do by acting in isolation.

Among the broad spectrum of work includes the development of major land and property projects - such as Fort Dunlop and Ventureast in Birmingham - to regenerating communities - such as Camp Hill in Nuneaton - and investing in projects that improve the performance of our region's businesses - such as Business Link West Midlands.

About Maverick TV

Maverick is an independent TV & media production company proud of its achievements and ambitious for future success. We embrace the challenges our fast changing industry presents while growing our creative and commercial future. We are passionate about our programmes, excited by talent, courageous in our outlook and believe we can genuinely make a difference.

About Warwick University

The University of Warwick is one of the UK's leading research led universities. It is consistently ranked in the top ten of UK Universities in the national newspaper league tables. In the Government's last Research Assessment Exercise, Warwick was ranked fifth in the UK for research quality, with 25 of its 26 academic departments gaining the highest ratings of 5 or above.

Birmingham Conference Speakers

Dr Adam Rutherford

Dr Adam Rutherford is a science journalist with a degree in evolutionary genetics and a PhD in retinal genetics. He has featured on Channel 4’s Men In White and writes a blog for The Guardian.

Dr Rutherford is the Editor of Web Publishing at Nature, an international science magazine. Nature is the top international weekly science magazine, publishing research, news and features covering all fields of science. Nature recently formed a new Research and Development department, devoted to developing new products to enable better science communication. Nature recently launched the Nature Podcast, an online radio show, and will shortly launch a participative news site. As Web Editor Dr Rutherford has editorial responsibility for Nature’s entire web presence, but also leads all online development projects, specialising in science communication to a broad audience.

Anthony Lilley

Anthony Lilley is Chief Creative Officer of Magic Lantern, a multi-award winning company which creates engaging interactive media with clients and partners including the BBC, ITV, C4, Guardian Media Group, Tiscali, Google, Entertainment Rights, ABC, PBS and many others. He has worked on a variety of major international content brands including Top Gear, Spooks, Dr Who, Guardian Unlimited and Planet Earth as well as co-creating and executive producing the BAFTA and Peabody Award-winning FourDocs for C4. Anthony is a member of the Content Board of OFCOM, a director of the English National Opera and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. Previously he has been Vice-Chair of PACT, Chair of the UK Digital Content Forum and on the board of BECTA. He has a regular column in the MediaGuardian and speaks and writes widely on media issues; last year he gave the televised RTS Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture. He is the appointed News International Visiting Professor of Broadcast Media at the University of Oxford.

Dr Jon Salkeld

Managing Director, Optronics Division, QinetiQ

Dr Jon Salkeld is the MD of QinetiQ’s Optronics Division. This Division undertakes major programmes in MEMS, semiconductors, optical systems, thermal and MMW imaging. He joined QinetiQ in 2002, initially as head of Advanced Signal & Information Processing. He previously held roles in business management, strategic planning and technology management during ten years with ICI. Other experience includes short secondments in broadcasting and consulting, and earlier work as a researcher with Schlumberger Cambridge Research. Jon holds a degree in Physics & Computational Science from St Andrews, a PhD in Electronic & Chemical Engineering from UMIST, and has undertaken the advanced industrial marketing programme at INSEAD

QinetiQ is one of Europe's largest science and technology solutions providers that employs many leading scientists and internationally acclaimed experts. Operating in markets as diverse as marine, energy, telecommunications, automotive, rail, electronics, defense, space, health, oil & gas, aerospace and information technology, QinetiQ offers a unique range of services, consultancy advice and test facilities. These include indoor and outdoor ranges, wind tunnels, marine testing facilities, automotive test tracks and climatic testing laboratories.