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Award success for Northumbria KTP Associate

19th October 2023

Northumbria University KTP Associate and data scientist Rohit Venugopal has won the Future Leader category in this year’s prestigious Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards for his work leading a project with ART Heath Solutions.

As a Northumbria KTP Associate, Rohit worked with employee wellbeing business ART for two years as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Software Development engineer. He helped the Newcastle-based start-up create its own in-house technical systems and processes, accelerate development, improve efficiency and reduce costs. Rohit’s contribution was so successful that he now works for ART full time.

The academic input for the KTP was led by Professor Longzhi Yang, Computer and Information Sciences, supported by James Nicholson (Information Systems and Psychology) and Vicki Elsey (Occupational Psychology). Longzhi, who joined Rohit at the award ceremony, noted: “From the start, Rohit demonstrated real technical skills and an appetite to apply these skills in new ways and learn more. He quickly developed a real understanding of ART's business and the team, then made a significant contribution to the operational and strategic development of the business during the KTP. It's great that he is now part of their ambitious plans.”

The Innovate UK KTP Awards celebrate the most positive impact of KTPs, which enable collaboration between academia and industry, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology. Finalists for the Future Leaders category must have shown exceptional skills above and beyond normal expectations in the delivery of their innovation project, demonstrated excellence in project management and leadership, and contributed to commercial strategy.

Founded in 2018 by Northumbria PhD graduate Dr Phill Bell and his business partner Dr Paul Smith, ART works with a growing client base – including multinational companies – to improve the working environment, health and performance of employees through the use of scientific data collected via wearable technology and a sophisticated cognitive performance mobile app.

Rohit said: “As a data scientist, having the opportunity to become a KTP Associate with ART and to be part of such an innovative and exciting start-up was incredibly rewarding. On a personal level it is a huge honour to feature in these awards, but it also reflects the wider collaboration between ART and Northumbria.”

Dr Bell added: “To help build our business and look after a growing customer base we needed someone inhouse with strong data and tech skills, and the KTP with Northumbria was the ideal solution. Rohit undertook highly valuable work on our AI and other technical developments that really have made a significant difference, and it is fitting to see that recognised in these awards.

“ART has worked closely with Northumbria over a number of years, accessing support through the University’s Graduate Futures and Business Enterprise teams. The KTP with Rohit is just another example of this effective partnership and we are looking forward to embarking on our second KTP with the University after successfully being awarded further KTP funding in a recent Innovate UK competition.”

John Clayton, Knowledge Transfer Adviser, Innovate UK KTN, said: “Rohit demonstrates many future leader qualities: he’s inspiring, confident, empowering, strategic, perceptive, creative, and collaborative. Witnessing his growth as a leader was a pleasure throughout the KTP. He has inspired ART with confidence to create a Data Science function, which he now leads. His good humour, warmth, and technical prowess mark him out as a Future Leader. Winning the award gives Rohit a much-deserved accolade, and an early boost for his long career in innovation leadership.”

The KTP programme is led by the Government’s innovation agency Innovate UK. KTPs are designed to enable collaboration between academia and industry, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology to increase competitivity and to promote an innovation culture.  Northumbria has a long track record of successfully collaborating with small and large businesses on KTPs. 

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