Alumni Case Studies

The Horizon CDT is extremely proud of the success it has achieved since its launch in 2009. We take pride in the fact that graduates have left the CDT with high-level doctoral skills, expertise, experience and knowledge.

Our graduates go on to a wide range of positions and careers in a variety of companies and organisations. Below are a selection of CDT alumni case studies on the career paths and the fascinating roles our graduates are now in.

Dr Ewa Luger

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    Horizon CDT alumna Dr Ewa Luger was promoted to full professor in the Edinburgh College of Art.

    Ewa received her PhD in 2014 and is a member of the first Horizon CDT cohort and graduating class.

    Ewa is currently a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute and Director of Research Innovation for Edinburgh College of Art. She is aligned to the Institute of Design Informatics, and the Edinburgh Futures Institute where she is Deputy Director of Research. Ewa is an expert adviser for DCMS (college of experts) and a member of the Leadership Circle for the Scottish Government’s AI Alliance (ethics and inclusion), delivering the AI strategy for Scotland. She has sat on Facebook’s Algorithms and Public Interest expert advisory group. Ewa sat on the EPSRC Digital Economy programme advisory board and now sits on the EPSRC ICT SAT.

    Her work focuses on applied ethical challenges in the field of artificial intelligence and data-driven systems. This includes practical issues such as data governance, consent, privacy, explainable AI, and how intelligent networked systems might be made intelligible to users, with a particular interest in distribution of power and spheres of digital exclusion.

    Ewa has worked with Microsoft as a consultant in the ethics of AI, with the Data and Marketing Association on their Value of Data programme and worked with Tesco and Samsung in the context of staff development.

Dr Richard Ramchurn
Creative Director | Researcher | Artist

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    In 2020, Richard received his PhD from the Horizon CDT for his thesis Brain-Controlled Cinematic Interactions.

    Richard is the founder of AlbinoMosquito Productions Limited, a creative agency that has produced and shown work on the BBC, TATE Modern, The National Gallery, The Lowry, CONTACT, RNCM, The Royal Exchange, The Roundhouse, Grand Theatre Groningen, BRIC Brooklyn, and in Sulaimani, Iraq, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong. He is a practicing artist-researcher working across the mediums of theatre, film and digital technologies.

    Richard's second brain-controlled film The MOMENT has been shown at festivals around the UK including Sheffield Doc Fest, BlueDot, Kendall Calling, and Leeds International Film Festival, as well as touring to Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva, Austria, Iceland and Hong Kong. The film and research have also been presented at international academic conferences. At CHI16 in San Jose, California, his research work on Brain Controlled Movies was awarded Best Art Paper.

    Richard is also the primary investigator on research project Adaptive Interactive Movies, a research co-production with Horizon DER and AlbinoMosquito using AI to allow audiences to interact with cinema without narrative disruption. He is managing a research team in data privacy, machine learning, audience studies, and psychology to build a machine learning algorithm into viewing habits and personality types of a representative sample of the UK population. This will be used to build computer vision software to allow movies to adapt to an audiences' emotional reactions and tested in a new movie called Before We Disappear written and directed by Richard.

    Dr Roza Vasileva
    Senior Digital Innovations & Engagement Specialist

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      Roza worked as a Digital Innovations Consultant at the World Bank for four years before joining Horizon CDT. She designed and implemented open data and digital development projects in over a dozen countries within the Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia regions. This work sparked her academic interest to investigate using data, especially open government data and citizen-generated urban data for designing smart sustainable cities with citizen participation.

      Roza conducted field work in two cities in Africa – Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya) – looking at four data-driven community initiatives, specifically at how city governments and other stakeholders engage communities dealing with sustainability challenges, and how data support this. Her research drew on studies in sustainable cities, social sciences, and computer science, employing an inductive exploratory approach using qualitative research methods to examine case studies.

      Overall, the nature of data-driven community initiatives in these cities was found to be different to the cities in the ‘Global North’. They were shaped by the way people traditionally participated in decision making and how these initiatives were introduced and resourced.

      After receiving her PhD in the summer of 2021, Roza secured the position of Senior Digital Innovations and Engagement Specialist at the International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group in Washington D.C. where she has an opportunity to incorporate her academic insights into practice.
      Dr Vanja Ljevar
      Chief Data Scientist

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        After completing her PhD in 2021, Vanja along with behavioural scientist Patrick Fagan launched Kubik Intelligence, a next-generation consulting firm that blends customer data analytics with psychology insights to boost sales and loyalty. By psychologically profiling customers and implementing appropriate nudging strategies for a more tailored engagement, Kubik Intelligence helps boost clients' sales, conversion, and loyalty.

        ​Kubik Intelligence can intelligently extract customers’ behavioural insights by using cutting-edge data science approaches. These serve as the foundation of their psychology-based nudging strategies and resonate with customers the best to provide a competitive advantage.

        Their favourite industries are FMCG, entertainment, fashion, health and telecommunication. You can see some of their latest projects on the Kubik Intelligence blog

        Dr Roma Patel
        Founder & Artistic Director

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          Roma was successfully awarded the degree of PhD in 2020. Roma’s PhD thesis investigated how sensing technologies can create new modes of narrative, multisensory experiences and play in theatre for young audiences.

          Her PhD research has led to several visual arts commissions since 2017 including The Enchanted Forest commissioned by Theatre Hullabaloo in Darlington and co-supported by an internal Horizon CDT Impact Grant. Over a period of one year, a total of 17,147 children and adults, including international delegates at TakeOff Festival, experienced the installation.

          Roma has been invited to facilitate over 15 practical digital arts workshops for arts practitioners, Theatre and HCI researchers, nursery practitioners, young children and families, care workers and care home residents both national and internationally. In 2020, she received the Telling Tales of Engagement award (EPSRC) for PhD research and was the Artist in Residence at Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity between 2020- 2021.

          After completing her PhD, Roma founded the spin-off company Makers of Imaginary Worlds (MOIW) supported by Arts Council England (ACE) Developing your Creative Practice fund. MOIW works explore mixed reality spaces that merge sensing and wearable technologies with traditional theatre craft to create sensory playful performance installations for young audiences. Her company has created three public interactive installations supported by ACE since 2019 and in partnership with the <a href=" Lakeside Arts Centre and Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham.

          MOIW is currently exploring the potential of hybrid storytelling spaces with researchers at Horizon Digital Economy and the integration of robotics in art installations with UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub.

          Dr Mark Iliffe

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            After submitting his PhD in 2016, Mark became a research fellow at the N/LAB at University of Nottingham, as well as advising the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural, Resilience Global Practice on geospatial information, a position he had originally started as part of his CDT internship in 2011.

            In 2017 Mark moved to UN Headquarters, New York City to take up the position of Geographer at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) as part of the Secretariat to the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM).

            Primarily, Mark provides secretariat support to Member State delegates to the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM). Some pieces of work include working with Member States to develop:

            • The Global Statistical Geospatial Framework as a UN agreed framework for integrating statistical and geospatial information.

            • Coordinating the work of National Mapping/Geospatial Information Agencies in the response to COVID-19 and how they can help prepare for the next pandemic.

            • The SDGs Geospatial Roadmap as a high-level policy document to bring National Statistical Offices and NGIAs together to generate the information needed for national priorities and global development agendas. This was recently launched in Kyrgyzstan.

            • Being a contributing author to the Global Assessment Report 2022, which considers how we can take global actions against the rising threat of disasters.

            Dr Neelima Sailaja
            Transitional Assistant Professor

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              After graduating from the CDT in 2019, Neelima joined the Horizon DER team as a Research Fellow designing responses to the challenges of personal data leverage in future media experiences as well as continuing her PhD partnership with the BBC. Soon after, Neelima was awarded the Transitional Assistant professor role at Horizon DER, Department of Computer Science, University of Nottingham. Here she leads and conducts multi-disciplinary research around Human Data Interaction, Sustainability, AI, IoT, Design and HCI. The majority of her work is contextualised within the scope of media, often partnering with the BBC and also contributing to U.K. (DCMS) policy.

              Neelima’s recent projects include the £1.2m Fixing the Future: The Right to Repair and Equal-IoT project funded by UK EPSRC. This project partners with the Universities of Edinburgh (lead/PI) and Lancaster and is an inter-disciplinary investigation across HCI, Law and Design on how to build more equitable Internet of Things (Equal-IoT) products and services for the future.

              Dr Tatiana Styliari
              Senior Design Researcher

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                After submitting her PhD thesis in 2019, Tatiana has spent the last 3+ years in the consultancy world. She is currently based in London working as a Senior Design Researcher within Deloitte Digital’s Research Practice. Her expertise lies in qualitative and design research, but she is enthusiastic about curving business strategy and innovating using emerging technologies.

                She has been focusing her research on future experiences and service optimisation of private sector clients (e.g. META) and financial services clients (e.g. Close Brothers). Tatiana has also worked in public sector digital transformation (e.g. with Department for Education, Department for Work and Pensions), following Agile methodologies and Government Digital Service (GDS) principles.

                Dr Rosa Lavelle-Hill
                Research Associate

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                  After receiving her PhD from Horizon CDT in 2020, Rosa began working at The Alan Turing Institute as a research associate using machine learning and Bayesian methods to help prevent modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other exploitative crimes.

                  Rosa is currently working at The Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology at the University of Tübingen (Germany) researching how big data and machine learning can be used in the study of education and learning. Her research combines psychological theory and machine learning to investigate how big data can be used to understand human behaviour, with applications in the domain of social good.

                  Rosa continues to be involved in ongoing research with The University of Nottingham investigating biases in academic grading, trialling the introduction of algorithms to help reduce such biases, and alleviating cognitive load for academics.

                  Rosa's other projects include using machine learning to predict the purchasing of over-the-counter anxiety remedies and sleep aids; extracting the psychological and demographic predictors of single-use plastic bag consumption in the UK; and building a recommender system to improve employment outcomes in mainland Portugal.

                  In March 2023 Rosa will begin a tenure-track Assistant Professorship in Psychology with a special focus on Social Data Science at the University of Copenhagen.