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University of Essex: Celebration of Innovation 2023

September 28, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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Join us for our Celebration of Innovation 2023. On Thursday 28 September we’ll bring together industry leaders and academic partners to celebrate phenomenal collaborations and the impact they’ve had.

Our annual awards return to acknowledge incredible achievements and share success stories from our research associates, business partners and academics, who have all contributed to innovation and partnership accomplishments.

We’ll also be joined by inspirational keynote speakers including YuLife Co-founder Jonathan Roomer, plus there’ll be a showcase of Essex research to explore, plenty of networking opportunities, and great food and drink available throughout the evening.

*Last few tickets remaining! We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible to secure your place.*


16.00: Arrival drinks and canapés plus a showcase of Essex research to explore

17.00: Welcome address and presentations from inspirational industry leaders. Compèred by Natalie Cramp, CEO of Profusion

  • Jonathan Roomer, Co-founder of YuLife
  • Dr Ali Rais Shaghaghi, Applied AI & Machine Learning Lead at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

18:00: Break for networking and drinks

18.30: The University of Essex Innovation Awards, hosted by Professor Chris Greer, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research

19:30: Networking, food, and drink

21.00: Event closes


Our speakers for the evening are Co-founder of YuLife, Jonathan Roomer and Dr Ali Rais Shaghaghi, Applied AI and Machine Learning Lead at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Jonathan and YuLife are on a mission to turn financial products into a force for good. Loved by over 550,000 employees with clients ranging from Tesco to Rightmove, Jonathan will share the YuLife journey from disruptive idea through to rapidly emerging unicorn.

An Essex graduate and former KTP Associate, Ali is a renowned AI leader in the financial sector and has been at the forefront of shaping the future of AI research, finance and the professional services landscape for more than 15 years at global firms such as KPMG and Natwest. He will join us to share his views on innovation, product development and his journey from research into leading industry AI development.

We’re also excited to that Natalie Cramp, CEO of Profusion, will be joining us as our host for the night. Collaborating with us for 5+ years across multiple research areas, we’re in excellent hands for the evening with one of data and digitals most respected leaders.

Find out a little more about them all below.

About Natalie Cramp, CEO of Profusion

With more than a decade of experience in leading private, public and third sector organisations through significant periods of innovation and change, Natalie leads Profusion, a data consultancy. Her mission is to support organisations large and small to get the right insight into the right hands at the right time to create value.

She was recently named in the Twenty in Data and Technology 2023 and has been recognised multiple times in the top 100 data professionals. She holds various leadership roles in the data community including Chairing a Women’s Health movement, leading a cross-industry Data Ethics Advisory Board, and being a member of the Mayor’s Data for London Advisory Board.

About Jonathan Roomer, Co-founder of YuLife

Jonathan is co-founder of YuLife. He started his career as an entrepreneur and after many “almost successes” he decided that being an entrepreneur wasn’t exciting enough. So, he completed an MBA, became an Actuary and eventually decided to head back to the entrepreneurial world.

Prior to YuLife Jonathan led the early-stage segment of KPMG’s Tech Growth team. Jonathan is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and a guest lecturer at Imperial College Business School.

About Dr Ali Rais Shaghaghi, Applied AI & Machine Learning Lead at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Dr Ali Rais Shaghaghi is a renowned AI leader and visionary in the financial technology sector, currently leading AI and Machine Learning initiatives at JP Morgan Chase & Co. He has been at the forefront of shaping the future of AI research, finance, and the professional services landscape for more than fifteen years.

In previous roles, Ali has led AI initiatives across global firms such as KPMG, Natwest, and McLaren Applied and is an AI researcher at heart. After completing his PhD in Computational Finance with University of Essex, Ali went on to deploy his operational research skills on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Port of Felixstowe, designing bespoke algorithms and methods for the purpose of shipping container optimisation alongside Essex academics. He also completed research roles in the fields of risk modelling, economic loss and automated heuristic optimisation with the University of Cambridge and BT respectively.


September 28, 2023
4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


University of Essex


Wivenhoe House Hotel
Park Road
Colchester, Essex CO4 3FA United Kingdom
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