Tag Archives: PhD

Prizewinning PhD students celebrate success at entrepreneurship event

The Digital Economy Network delivered a two day entrepreneurship workshop and pitching competition specifically for Digital Economy doctoral students at the Digital Catapult Centre in London on 19-20 September. 

Over 40 attendees from across 11 EPSRC Digital Economy Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Universities within the Network attended the event, which was led by Professor Philip Treleaven, Director of the EPSRC Financial Computing  & Analytics CDT at University College London, who had put together an exciting and informative two-day programme of activities, including CDT alumni speakers, from which the students could gain valuable insights and expertise.

Day one

Above: Dr Daniel Hulme, Former UCL Data Science PhD Student and now CEO of Satalia

After being welcomed to the event, delegates benefited from masterclass seminars delivered by Professor Treleaven on idea visioning, branding,  and funding pitches, as well as introducing three entrepreneurial case study presentations from former CDT students of the Financial Computing CDT at UCL, who had gone on to launch their own spin-out companies and products during and after completing their PhD.  Chris Skilton, who is an entrepreneurship consultant, led a session on the components of the Business Model Canvas.

Above: Post-doc Dr Paula Parpart talks about the launch of Brainpool for Data Scientists.

After lunch, the hackathon competition was launched by Dr Chris Carter, Assistant Professor of the Nottingham University Business School, and mentors Chris Skilton (Entrepreneurship Consultant) and Oonagh McGee of Newcastle University. The attendees formed small cross-CDT groups to work together on a chosen digital economy themed innovation idea, that would be pitched to a judging panel during the afternoon of the following day.  The Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ingenuity Process was showcased as a suggested three-stage model to help the students identify and develop an enterprising idea.

The students continued working on their ideas during the afternoon and into the evening over dinner in the capital city.

Day two

After starting the day with coffee and croissants, Philip Treleaven delivered an informative presentation on company structures, intellectual property and potential sources of entrepreneurial funding.

The groups then continued working hard on their ideas ready for the competition in the afternoon. Each group had been given the brief of a five-minute presentation, with 10 minutes per group for questions from the floor.

The pitch-off

After a well-earned buffet spread (which was a working lunch for some), the final afternoon session was dedicated to the ‘pitch-off, where the seven groups of PhD students presented their idea to the independent ‘Dragon’s Den’ panel, and there was a £1000 cash prize for the PhD student group who were judged to deliver the best five-minute pitch.  Each group was kept strictly to time by the Dragons!

There were some truly fantastic novel ideas put forward by each of the groups, that aimed to address a broad range of technological, societal and economic problems such as middleware to help solve home-buying/renting challenges in London, supply of bicycle storage racks/spaces, and stress-level measuring software and apps.

Prize winners

Overall Winners: Huge congratulations were in order for CDT students Cristina Guerrero Romero (IGGI CDT – Essex), Youssef Hamid (Embedded Intelligence CDT – Loughborough), Yitong Huang (Horizon CDT – Nottingham), and Alex Owen (Web Science CDT – Southampton) who collectively won the £1000 cash prize for the best business pitch for their proposed innovative CycleRack app idea (see logo left), which aimed to match cyclists and local businesses for mutual benefit to provide affordable, secure and convenient bicycle storage space.

Above: The winning cross-CDT ‘Cyclerack’ team developing their idea at the Digital Catapult Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was also a People’s Choice Award up for grabs, which was voted for by the other PhD students anonymously, using a interactive voting app.  The Dragons were exempt from voting for this category. The winners were Carlos Gonzalez Diaz (IGGI CDT – York), Dr Ege Sezen (HighWire CDT – Lancaster), Tatiana Styliari (Horizon CDT – Nottingham) and Fabio Turchet (Centre for Digital Entertainment – Bournemouth) for their employment skills matching data anaylsis AI platform  ‘EmployAIble‘, who were rewarded with £250 of Amazon vouchers.

 

 

 

 

Relevant News items:

Next steps

DEN hopes to deliver the same event in 2018, as the feedback from the students who attended was extremely positive, and they relished the chance to learn from entrepreneurial experts, as well as having the opportunity to meet and work collaboratively with their peers.

Acknowledgments and thanks

DEN would like to thank Professor Philip Treleaven of UCL for putting together the extremely well received two day programme together, and also Dr Chris Carter (University of Nottingham), Chris Skilton (Entrepreneurial Consultant) and Oonagh McGee (Newcastle University) for co-organising, delivering and mentoring the students at the event. Thanks also to be extended to Dr Catarina Fernandes, Academic Engagement Manager at the Digital Catapult Centre, for being part of the Dragons Den judging panel for the group presentations, and to DEN Social Media Advocate Chira Tochia for social media coverage. Finally we would also like to thank the Financial Computing CDT alumni speakers who gave up their time to come and share their experiences with the next generation of CDT students.

We would also like to thank all the CDT/PhD students that attended and participated, which made it such an inspiring and vibrant event!

Felicia Black – Digital Economy Network Manager

Wyresdale Park: A haven for writing

The Apple Store Cafe at Wyresdale Park in Scorton provided the scenic summer setting for the third Digital Economy Network cross-CDT writing retreat of 2017, which was held on 19-20 June.

There were 24 PhD student attendees from across eight EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training  within the Network, who spent two days in rural Lancashire focusing on a writing project of their choice.  The CDT students participating were all at differing stages of their PhD and found the opportunity to have dedicated time to focus on their writing, as well as benefit from the advice and support from their peers at the retreat, extremely valuable.

Some used the session-focused event to focus on specific chapters of their thesis; such as their methodology, whilst others used the time to draft academic papers, carry out data analysis or work on their PhD annual review reports.

Students were able to make the most of the warm sunny days by using the tree sheltered peaceful gardens in the Estate as a haven for productive writing.

Photos from the retreat can be viewed here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3aB5QN

Students from the following CDTs were represented:

  • Digital Civics, Newcastle University
  • Embedded Intelligence, Loughborough University
  • Financial Computing, UCL
  • Healthcare Innovation, University of Oxford
  • HighWire, Lancaster University
  • Horizon, University of Nottingham
  • Media & Arts Technology, QMUL
  • Web Science, University of Southampton

DEN would like to extend utmost thanks to Andy Darby (HighWire, Lancaster University) for facilitating, Sally Whewell of Wyresdale Estate for hosting, and to Tish and Kate of HighWire for helping to look after our delegates for the retreat.

Writing progress made at Elmore Court

The second DEN cross-CDT PhD Writing Retreat took place on 16-17 May at Elmore Court, a stunning and historic 13th Century country house venue, located just outside Gloucester.

Elmore interior21 CDT students from across various DEN CDTs, at differing stages of their PhD research, attended for the 2-days, to focus on a writing project related to their research. Some students were returning to the event for the second time after finding the previous retreat held in Leicestershire extremely beneficial.

Some students used the two days to focus on finalising chapters of their PhD thesis, whilst others were drafting research papers, journals or conference workshop presentations. Attendees were able to make use of the vast space of the Hall, Drawing Room and Morning Room at Elmore, as well as the peaceful surroundings of the grounds.

As well as having a goal-setting, time-structured approach to writing, some students took advantage of dedicated time with the facilitator, Andy Darby (HighWire CDT), to talk through, get advice and receive feedback on their chosen writing projects.

The majority of the delegates stayed at Elmore Court overnight, as the house benefits from seventeen individual rooms with views of the Cotswolds and the River Severn. During the breaks and over dinner, PhD students were able to talk with their peers about the progress of their PhD and share advice and experience.

Elmore 2

The EPSRC-funded Digital Economy CDTs represented via PhD students at this DEN organised event were:

  • Financial Computing & Analytics – University College London (2 students)
  • Healthcare Innovation – University of Oxford (1 student)
  • HighWire – Lancaster University (6 students)
  • Media and Arts Technology – Queen Mary University of London (4 students)
  • My Life in Data (Horizon) – University of Nottingham (4 students)
  • Web Science – University of Southampton (4 students).

The next writing retreat will take place on 19-20 June at the popular venue of Wyresdale Park in Scorton, Lancashire.

DEN would like to thank Andy Darby of the HighWire CDT for facilitating the event.

If you have any questions about the DEN writing retreats, please contact Felicia Black, DEN Manager at felicia.black@nottingham.ac.uk.

Felicia Black

DEN Manager

Writing in the Woodlands

After the popularity of the DEN CDT PhD Writing Retreats held at Wyresdale Park, hosted by the HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training in Lancaster, DEN organised the first Midlands-based event at The Woodlands at Hothorpe Hall in rural Leicestershire.

28 PhD students from across nine of the DEN CDTs attended the 2-day residential retreat, which took place on 21-22 March, with representation from the Cloud Computing, Digital Civics, Embedded Intelligence, Financial Computing, Healthcare Innovation, HighWire, Horizon, Media & Arts Technology and Web Science centres.

Writing retreat

The retreats, funded by the Network, provide the opportunity for CDT students to focus on a piece of research writing of their choice, where they can work individually in a series of time-focused sessions, whilst benefiting from being able to network and receive support from peers during the breaks and over dinner.

Writing  projects and goals at this retreat included thesis work, journals, papers, presentations and PhD annual review reports.

The Woodlands venue, with surrounding Hall and lodge accommodation on-site, appeared to be a popular venue, so DEN will look to organise another retreat at the Theddingworth based facility in 2018.

The next two DEN writing retreats will take place on 16-17 May (Gloucestershire) and 19-20 June (Lancashire).  Thank you to Andy Darby, of HighWire CDT for facilitating the retreat.