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Durham University

Internal Communications
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AI for Admissions launch comms

(11 December 2020)

In 2015 Durham introduced a CRM platform as part of the recruiting the Next Generation of Students Project (RNGS). The aim of this project was to put applicants and prospective applicants at the heart of the recruitment and admissions process, allowing Durham to attract and recruit the most able undergraduate and postgraduate students in a highly competitive global market. Subsequently in 2017 a live chat tool was added to meet the changing communication needs of our current and future cohort of applicants.

To enhance our ability to engage and respond to queries from prospective students at all hours and by introducing a means of handling routine matters, Holly will enable staff to focus on the unique and distinctive needs of applicants and students. To support student recruitment and enable the University to be responsive a new member of the team, Holly will be helping out from next week.


Holly is an Artificial Intelligence concierge service, and operates as a chatbot embedded within the University website pages via as well as 


As we are sure there may be some questions we’ve also created an introductory page at This sets out how Holly will support our recruitment and admissions staff across the University. Holly is an output of the University’s digital strategy innovation theme, which drives the harnessing of emergent technology for our competitive advantage.


Over the coming months, Holly’s capabilities will be reviewed and improved based on usage data and customer feedback. Thank you to the Enquiries and Business Enhancement teams within Recruitment & Admissions, whose hard work and expertise has made this development possible and to colleagues across the University who are helping them to further develop the knowledge articles that provide the basis for Holly’s responses. Your continued support and engagement is important to ensuring our applicants and prospective applicants receive the best possible service at this crucial stage in their relationship with us.


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