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MSc Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship guest lecture: Accelerating machine learning capability

MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (IME) alumnus Hugo Defaux - Innovation Delivery Manager for Digital Catapult and - recently joined the Global Challenges, Emerging Technologies and Governance unit to talk about accelerating machine learning capability in the UK.

Hugo was approached by Digital Catapult at the end of his MSc and has been working there since. “I think they are targeting the MSc IME at Alliance MBS because it is really good preparation for a company such as Digital Catapult. You really become kind of like a Swiss army knife with so many different skills you can add to your CV.”

Hugo is involved in the programme, a multi-year accelerator programme run by Digital Catapult since 2018 and part-funded by KPI. “In 2018 Digital Catapult launched a survey to assess what was the main barrier for machine learning development in the UK. And 60% of the startups agreed that access to computational power was the main barrier.”

It thus started as a provider of computational power, but the goal soon became to accelerate the growth of machine learning startups in the UK, to help them become innovative and access finance.

“We're here to help startups to break down commercial barriers and so that means that we can put them in touch with some large industry players within the UK landscape”, who may have a problem they need solving.

Ethics has emerged as one of the most talked-about topics in the tech world

Digital Catapult put together an ethics committee to ensure the responsible use of the technology. “They talk with the startups and try to help them become more responsible and ethical. We've put in place a business ethics framework, which is a set of tools or guidelines for early-stage business in order to become more ethical.”

“It doesn't only mean in terms of the technology, but their business as a whole, questions around the business model. For example what happens if you sell the company, what is going to happen to the software, to your team, and questions about diversity and inclusion.”

These questions of responsible research and innovation (RRI) are also covered in the MSc IME course and give students the tools to plan ethical and responsible business plans.

Final words

Digital catapult approached Hugo based on his LinkedIn profile. “I really suggest building your LinkedIn profile. All the recruiters are looking there and when you come from such a good MSc programme make sure that you make that visible."