Published on 24/10/2023
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Aston University students showcase innovations to BrumAI experts

•    AI experts of today have been judging the budding AI leaders of the future 
•    The showcase is BrumAI’s flagship artificial intelligence and innovation event
•    Event was hosted at Aston University as part of Birmingham Tech Week.

Some of the AI experts of today have been judging the budding AI leaders of the future.

Five Aston University postgraduate students were selected as finalists to face the judges at the BrumAI postgraduate showcase, sponsored by creative communications company, DRPG.

The showcase is BrumAI’s flagship artificial intelligence and innovation event and was hosted at Aston University as part of Birmingham Tech Week

This year Aston University was a patron of the festival, the largest regional event in the UK, which this year took place from 16-20 October. 

The finalists showcased their takes on AI techniques such as applications in medical radiology imaging, robotic hand grasp, human pose estimation, training set optimisation and interpreting predictions made by machine learning models.

After the presentations, machine learning engineer James Heaton from Coventry-based Aurrigo discussed a knowledge transfer partnership at Aston University. During the project he helped improve the artificial intelligence autonomous vehicles use to detect and avoid unexpected obstacles.

Nathan Lloyd, co-organiser of BrumAI said: “The BrumAI Team is super proud of the students who submitted their work and especially those who presented in the live final.

“It is so great to see the state of AI through the research of young academics, and although it was a competition, they're all winners in our books! 

“We were similarly excited to have James Heaton of Aurrigo to close out our event, showcasing his journey and the many opportunities to connect universities with industrial partners, applying state-of-the-art research to real-world problems, a true role model for young academics. 

“We are also thankful that DRPG and Aston University share in our ambition to promote AI research and talent in Birmingham, and we look forward to running more events like this one in the future.”

Professor Anikó Ekárt, director of the new Aston Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Application (ACAIRA) said: “We could not be more proud to celebrate the success of our students at BrumAI. They excelled on every level, including presenting their work eloquently in front of a large and diverse audience.

“Our students are supervised by academic staff who are experts in a broad range of AI methods and application areas. 

“Our students showcased their projects in robotics and AI application in bioinformatics and health. The showcase was the first of its kind at Brum.AI, we hope that it becomes an annual event for the celebration of student success in the region, with participation from all local universities.”

James Nam, head of digital at DRPG added: “Our commitment to nurturing local talent, forging partnerships with esteemed educational institutions, and empowering the next generation of technology and technologists is not just an investment in our communities, but a testament to our unwavering belief in the boundless potential of our region and the potential it has for delivering ground-breaking solutions for our clients.

“At DRPG, we are extremely fortunate to see and support the West Midlands to transform into a powerhouse of digital innovation within the UK.  We're not just sponsoring BrumAI; we're championing an industry and we're championing our own backyard, and we do it with pride.”

Aston University recently announced its 2030 Strategy designed to shape technologies and digital transformation.

Left to right; Vincent Hall PhD (BrumAI), Atanas Kozarev (BrumAI), Nissy Abraham (BrumAI showcase entrant and award winner), Gemma Oldfield (Head of Digital project Delivery, DRPG / Brum AI showcase panel member), Ulysses Bernardet (Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Aston University / Brum AI showcase host)

Notes to editors

About DRPG
DRPG is a global creative communications group. The group creates and delivers integrated communications solutions and experiences for an industry wide range of clients and brands, for both external and internal audiences worldwide. 
For more information about DRPG, please contact Zac Goodman, Head of PR & Marketing ( on (07980 943530) or visit

Aston Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Application (ACAIRA) aims to bring impactful societal benefits through: (1) principled and tailored AI solutions to modern-day social, health and environmental challenges via close collaboration with SMEs, local authorities and governmental organisations; and (2) educating the next generation of AI leaders.

About Aston University
For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.
Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.
Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.
Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

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