Mary Mason

Project Administrator at Lancaster University.

My name is Mary Mason and I’m the Project Administrator at Lancaster University.

Tell us about your role and what you’ll be doing for the AI Foundry:

My role is to coordinate the different elements of the programme, from Lancaster University’s perspective, including the Phase 1 workshops and the Phase 2 technical assistance. I get involved with lots of the behind-the-scenes activity so I can ensure that the programme runs smoothly, the SMEs get the support they need and the necessary outputs are achieved.

I’ve worked at Lancaster University for a number of years, supporting the delivery of a wide range of business engagement activities, including Work Based Learning and Executive Education Programmes.

What excites you the most about the programme?

I’m excited to be working on such an innovative programme and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact that this cutting-edge support will have on Greater Manchester businesses. It’s really great to be working on this collaboratively with the other universities – Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester and University of Salford – with each institution having their own specialisms. I’m also looking forward to expanding my own knowledge around how AI Technologies can create exciting opportunities for businesses, helping them to grow and develop.

Peter Tracey

Data Scientist at University of Salford

Tell us about your role and what you’ll be doing for the AI Foundry:

Data Science teaching assistant at the University of Salford. I am responsible for technical R&D activities for the AI Foundry project, including:

• Exploring the use of AI and Data Science for the development of innovative products for SMEs

• Development of AI applications for SMEs

• Providing technical assistance and advice to SMEs adopting AI

• Providing support for delivery of workshops on AI

• Disseminating best practices and results to academic and industry audiences

What excites you the most about the programme?

I am excited to be a part of helping AI extend beyond classrooms and into the ‘real-world’, merging theory and application into products and services that will have a significant, positive impact in our community.

Loghman Mohammadzadeh

Data Scientist at University of Salford

I am a data scientist and senior software developer with 15+ years of experience in implementing machine learning systems, coding, leading development teams and developing software for desktop computers, web and mobile devices. I have experience working in the AI field from my academic background and within my professional career. The main areas of my interest are deep learning, especially computer vision, and natural language processing(NLP) and bias in AI. 

Tell us about your role and what you’ll be doing for the AI Foundry:

Whilst working on the AI Foundry, I’ll be involved in delivering sessions on “AI lifecycle management methodologies”, “Algorithmic bias and fairness in AI” and “Cloud technologies, Deployment of AI systems and MLOps” in phase one of the programme.

I will be helping the SMEs to scope their ideas and deliver technical assistance to accepted organisations in the second phase of the project.

What excites you the most about the programme?

Working on any AI project is always exciting for me. Normally when working for a company, you are focused on one project or area however, within the AI Foundry, I have the opportunity to deal with different SMEs across different AI fields and support them to develop or extend their ideas, bringing them to reality.

The most exciting part of the programme is the economic impact on the Greater Manchester area and creating new opportunities to increase the employment of specialised people.

Loghman’s Background

Skills and experience:

  • Experience with object-oriented/object function scripting languages: Python, R and Java, C++
  • Expertise with developing machine learning models and developing NLP and computer vision models using TensorFlow, Keras and OpenCV
  • Experience with relational databases and NoSQL databases 
  • Skill of developing big data solutions on Hadoop based technologies such as MapReduce, Hive, Apache Spark
  • Knowledge of using the cloud technologies on AWS and CD/CI Pipeline 
  • Experience in using different AI/Software development life cycle methodologies such as CRISP-DM, Kanban, TDSP and Scrum

Mandy Parkinson

Co-investigator at Manchester Metropolitan University

Mandy is Head of Business and Public Engagement, HEA Fellow and Doctorial Researcher and joined Manchester Metropolitan Business School in 2016. Mandy is Programme Director and either Principle Investigator (PI) or Co-Investigator across a series of SME programme to support leadership, innovation, business growth and entrepreneurship.

Mandy has extensive teaching and learning experience, in the education sector, which has included teaching at a variety of HEIs from Postgraduate programmes on International Business, Strategy, Operational Sustainability to profession programmes on strategy, enterprise , business start-up and marketing. She has also led a variety of teams to engage with and facilitate relationships between education and business. Fostering strategic partnerships external to the institutions, which support and promote the development of commercial income streams.

Mandy leads the Business and Public Engagement team, which drives forward all SME and external initiatives for the Faculty. She was also led the design and delivery of the ERASMUS+ DiTEM project delivering digital technology transformation to micro businesses across Europe.

Prior to this, Mandy taught International Business and Marketing Strategy and Operational Sustainability at postgraduate level. In addition, she was instrumental in the creation of an enterprise culture within a previous institution, advising on Enterprise & Commercial activity, appropriate contract terms and conditions and the mitigation of risks arising from the engagement in strategic partnerships external to the organisation. This also included leading a cross-institutional team of lecturers, trainers, assessors and administrators delivering enterprise activities to a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders.

In addition, she has experience of working within an SME as Head of Commercial development, this experience gives her a special insight into the demands and needs of small and micro-enterprises which she is now able to address as part of my role within the Faculty of Business and Law.

Mandy is currently undertaking her PhD in the impact on productivity of Digital Technology adoption within Micro-businesses

Amy Brooks

Project Manager at University of Salford

My name is Amy Brooks and I am the Project Manager at the University of Salford.

Tell us about your role and what you’ll be doing for the AI Foundry:

As the Project Manager, I will be coordinating the technical and academic expertise from the University of Salford to ensure the best support is given to SMEs. Ensuring the project outputs are achieved, I will also work with the data scientists, to help deliver the technical phase of the project, support the wider team in all aspects of the programme and help SMEs throughout the process.

I have worked as a Project Manager and quality manager in various different sectors and industries, including IT, events and construction.

What excites you the most about the programme?

Working to help local businesses, each with different needs, to innovate and bring AI technologies to Greater Manchester whilst learning from my team too!

Sam Attwood

Lead Technical Analyst at Manchester Metropolitan University

My name is Sam Attwood and I’m the Lead Technical Analyst working on the AI Foundry project at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Tell us about your role and what you’ll be doing for the AI Foundry:
I’ll be coordinating and helping to deliver technical assistance to organisations that are accepted onto phase 2 of the programme with Manchester Metropolitan University. I’ll also be helping out at some of the phase 1 workshops and delivering a session on prototyping.

What excites you the most about the programme?

I’m excited to work with leading researchers within the field of AI and to help transfer their expertise across to a variety of SMEs in the Greater Manchester region. I’m also excited to have the opportunity to shape best practices and help make sure that AI is used in a responsible and ethical manner.

Tell us about your background:

I’ve been working on the Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry project for over a year and continue to work on the project alongside the AI Foundry. Before joining Manchester Metropolitan University I worked as a software developer and did some research within the field of Natural Computation at the University of Birmingham.

Professor Keeley Crockett

Sector Specialist at Manchester Metropolitan University

My name is Keeley Crockett, Professor in Computational Intelligence in the Centre for Advanced Computational Science at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Tell us about your role and what you’ll be doing for the AI Foundry:
Within the AI Foundry, I will be involved in delivering some of the Phase 1 workshops and helping to support businesses who move into the Phase 2 Technical Assists.

What excites you the most about the programme?
Looking forward to working with businesses to develop ethical AI solutions.

Keeley’s Background

Keeley’s main research interests include:

  • ethical AI (data and governance),
  • fuzzy systems
  • fuzzy natural language processing fuzzy
  • crisp decision trees ( good for transparency)
  • semantic similarity measures ( applied to text and social media)
  • clustering
  • general machine learning and computational intelligence for psychological profiling (e.g. applied to comprehension and deception) from nonverbal behaviour
  • conversational agents (dialogue systems) and intelligent tutoring systems.

Keeley’s highlights:

Allan Rennie

Professor of Manufacturing Engineering & Director of Lancaster Product Development Unit at Lancaster University

Sunil Vadera

Lead Investigator at University of Salford

My name is Sunil Vadera and I am a Lead Investigator at the University of Salford.

Tell us about your role and what you’ll be doing for the AI Foundry:

I’ve worked in the AI field for over 30 years, and have always recognised the need to close the gap between theory and application of AI, so it’s a real pleasure to lead the University of Salford’s contribution to the project, coordinating our contributions and supporting the use of AI by SMEs

What excites you the most about the programme?

AI is exciting in it itself and over the years I have worked with many SMEs, especially via the Innovation UK’s Knowledge Partnership Programme.  What’s different about this programme for me is that it brings together multi-disciplinary expertise, not just across Salford, but also across our partners to support SMEs at a time when it is most needed and can have the biggest economic impact on our region.

Sunil’s Background

Research Highlights:

Driven by the desire to close the gap between theory and practice in data mining and AI, something he has been doing for over two decades by working with industry. Examples of his work includes:

  • Developing new models for real time sensor validation of gas turbines  in collaboration with the Mexican Instituto de Electricas
  • Data mining of near miss  explosions data for project funded by and in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive
  • Analysis of SMART meters data of over 40,000 households for British Gas that aimed to gain insight into consumer behaviour
  • An FP7 funded project on Self-Learning Energy Efficient Buildings and Open Spaces
  • Analysing factors affecting children in need and troubled families
  • Credit risk assessment for sub-prime lending aimed at improving financial inclusion

His main line of research in recent years has been in the field of cost-sensitive learning, where he has developed novel algorithms and in deep learning, where he is studying methods of reducing the size of the neural networks.

His research has been published in some of the leading outlets in the field, including the Computer Journal, ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, ACM Computing Surveys, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Expert Systems Journal, Foundations of Science, and IEEE Transactions of Power Systems.

Career Highlights:

Sunil Vadera is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Salford. He is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng) and a Chartered IT Professional (CITP).  He has held many leadership roles including:

  • Dean of the School of Computing, Science and Engineering,
  • Head of Computer Science,
  • Associate Dean of Research,
  • Director of Informatics Research Institute.
  • Chair and Vice-Chair of British Computer Society (BCS) Accreditations Committee from 2007 to 2010, which has responsibility for accreditation of the UK degrees in Computing.  

Sunil was awarded the UK BDO best Indian Scientist and Engineer in 2014 and the Amity award for Research contributions to AI and Neural Networks in 2018.

Sunil gained a first-class BSc(Hons) in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Salford in 1982, receiving three best student prizes. He holds a PhD from the University of Manchester in the area of Formal Methods of Software Development which was awarded in 1992. Following graduation, he began his career as a Research Assistant and progressed to a Lectureship in Computer Science in 1984. He was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in 1997 and to a Chair in Computer Science in 2000. 

Rachel Martin

Business Development Manager at University of Salford

The project is providing innovation consultancy and advisory aid in line with the De Minimis Exemption (in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013, OJ L 352/1) and Innovation R&D aid in line with the General Block Exemption Regulation (in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014, OJ L 187/1)

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