Launching Business Transformation through Digital Innovation

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This panel discussion will explore how digital innovation is transforming the industry.

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Covid-19 has presented unprecedented challenges across all levels of society and businesses. Businesses have had to adapt and embrace digital innovation one way or another and at pace in order to survive.

This panel discussion will showcase how companies, across various industry sectors are adopting digital innovation to stay ahead of the game.

Come along to hear from leading digital thinkers about how the industry rose to the challenge of adopting innovation in light of Covid 19. Find out about how Digital Innovation at Liverpool is transforming businesses.

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Gain better understanding on how digital innovation is transforming industry
  • Learn how University led innovation is contributing to transforming industry
  • Learn how technology is an important link in the value chain for innovation and product development


Chair: Julia Brennecke is Reader in Innovation Management at the University of Liverpool Management School.

Prior to joining ULMS in 2017, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Transformative Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on networks as the social infrastructure for innovation. It has the aim of creating a better understanding of how and why network ties form, and exposing the consequences of network connections for innovative performance. Her projects typically involve the transfer of knowledge back to her industry partners, in areas such as biotechnology or aerospace engineering. Julia’s work has been published in journals such as ‘Academy of Management Journal’, ‘Research Policy’, and ‘Human Resource Management’, among others

Dr. Andrew Levers -Executive Director of the Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems (IDEAS)

Dr Andrew Levers is the Executive Director of the Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems (IDEAS) at the University of Liverpool, the UKs leading research centre for virtual engineering, simulation and autonomous systems, having an impressive, sustained track record of research and business transformation brought about through the adoption of digital technologies. Prior to this Andrew was Technical Director at Survitec Group, a designer and manufacturer of personal survival equipment and oxygen systems for fixed and rotary wing military platforms. In this role Andrew was responsible for design and manufacturing engineering functions including technology and R&D route mapping and the management of global engineering services on major aircraft platforms including Eurofighter Typhoon, F-35, F16, F18, F22.

Until May 2013, Andrew served as the R&D Integration Manager at Airbus Operations and in a 20 year career held a variety of senior technical and strategic positions within Airbus Operations that has led to several cutting edge technology development projects, including the implementation of the Creep Age forming process on the Airbus A380 a project for which he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining in 2004. In addition he has been involved in the establishment of a Professorship in Aircraft Systems Installation at Cranfield University as well as being Project Leader for the THERM project co-funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board, which developed methods for scalable modeling of resource energy and waste streams in industrial systems. Andrew has delivered several keynote and prestige lectures including the Sir Geoffrey de Havilland Lecture to the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Bi-annual Dickinson Lecture to the Newcomen Society. Andrew is an active member of the International Scientific Committee on Shot Peening, a Visiting Research Fellow at Cranfield University as well as a Visiting Professor at Glyndwr University. Andrew was a Foreign Expert within the Beijing Oversea’s Talent scheme between 2013 and 2016

Dr Edward O. Pyzer-Knapp, IBM Research’s global lead for AI Enriched Modelling and Simulation

Dr Edward O. Pyzer-Knapp is IBM Research’s global lead for AI Enriched Modelling and Simulation, with a particular focus on the development and exploitation of these techniques for accelerated materials discovery. He has a broad, cross-disciplinary research interests spanning IBM’s three pillars of bits (classical computing), neurons (AI) and qubits (quantum computing), with examples of current projects including the use of multi-fidelity Bayesian optimization technologies to provide >10x speedup to high-throughput virtual screening workflows, and the development of quantum-classical integration pipelines for accelerated materials discovery. He has authored >50 papers and conference proceedings, as well as three book chapters, and a textbook on deep learning for the physical sciences, which will be published this year. He is also the Visiting Professor of Industrially Applied AI at the University of Liverpool, and serves as Editor in Chief of the journal Applied AI Letters, which has a focus of real-world applications of AI, including in the physical science domain.

Jennifer Neff CEO, Elemental Software

Jennifer is driven by a passion for ending avoidable health inequalities. She set up Elemental Software with Leeann Monk to establish, scale, and measure the uptake and the impact of the social prescribing model of care, connecting people, building communities, and improving lives.

Jennifer works every day on that mission, to spread the word about the social prescribing movement, the difference it makes to people’s lives, communities, and the health and social care sector.

Building upon her years of experience in regeneration and social and economic development, Jennifer helps organisations to enhance and evaluate the impact of social prescribing via Elemental’s award-winning portfolio of digital social prescribing products and transformational consultancy services.

As the leading digital social prescribing software provider in the UK, Elemental is bridging the gap between health, housing, the VCSE sector, Education, Local Government, education and prison services with a range of digital solutions designed to enable the strategy and practice of self-care and independence and ultimately to help people to find their passions. Over 650 social prescribing hubs use Elemental across England, Scotland, Wales and the Island of Ireland to make, manage and report on the uptake and impact of social prescribing.

Jennifer believes this is a powerful route out of health inequality.

Sholthana Begum, Head of Innovation and RegTech, Prudential Regulation Authority, Bank of England

Sholthana is currently Head of Innovation and Regulatory Technology (RegTech) at the Bank of England.

Her background is varied, with spells as a senior risk specialist, markets practitioner and accountant specialising in financial regulation and central banking. Sholthana is an experienced technologist, influencer and innovative leader.

The influence of Sholthana is substantial, and as a result she was named in the 2021 DataIQ power list of the most influential people in Data.

Sholthana is recognised as a thought leader and considered a pioneer of RegTech and SupTech in the PRA, her work is actively paving the way forward in advancing the Future of Finance. Sholthana’s counsel and advice is often sought after from other Central Banks and private bodies across the globe. Her achievements in RegTech have been widely recognised, most notably through her acceptance of the Tech Forward award in the 2019 Central Banking Awards hosted in Singapore.

The following elements of the Making an Impact 2021 Framework are relevant to this session:

Making an Impact on the Digital Agenda

Accessibility Adjustments and Alternative Format requests

If you require any accessibility reasonable adjustments or have any questions about this session, please contact The Academy at 7 working days before the event, so that your requirements can be addressed by the organisers and/or referred to the facilitator(s) who will make every effort to address them where possible.

Academy Researcher Development Inclusivity Statement

The Academy is committed to providing an environment which recognises and values people's differences, capitalises on the strengths that those differences bring to the institution and supports all staff and students in maximising their potential to succeed. In line with the Academy's firm commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, we offer all postdoctoral and research-related opportunities to develop and network irrespective of a researcher’s gender, ethnicity, age, self-identification, disability, religious affiliation, or any other criteria used to separate and define.

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