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Posted on 29 June 2017 by Frances Loring
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Leeds crowned winners of the Hiscox University Challenge

Congratulations to the Leeds Data Science Society who have been announced the winners of the Hiscox University Challenge. The University of Leeds fought off stiff competition from York and LSE to secure the trophy and a prize of £1000 for their society.

All of the teams were set two challenges – the first was to model the causes of railroad accidents in the US and identify the factors that may increase liability and the second was to consider what the factors of success look like for a start-up company in the UK. It was their work on the second challenge that swung it for Leeds.

Steven Wilkins, Group Head of Underwriting Insight, paid tribute to their sophisticated analysis as well as their energy and enthusiasm throughout the year:

“All of the teams produced some excellent work and we really enjoyed working with them to solve the challenges. But it’s congratulations to the University of Leeds team on this occasion for their smart analysis of the data and for their infectious enthusiasm throughout the entire project.

“Data can be used to complement the expert knowledge we have within Hiscox. If we can use it to make even smarter decisions more often, then we’re winning.”

Lawrence Ning Lu, the Leeds team captain, praised his team for their hard work and dedication and said:

“It’s amazing to win the Hiscox University Challenge. Many people consider data science to be about how many new blackbox techniques we can perform, but we see it as how much we could add value or new insights to a business. We were able to demonstrate this to Hiscox and win the cup.”

Professor Mark Birkin, Director of Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, University of Leeds commented:

“It has been our pleasure to host and support a flourishing multi-disciplinary Data Science Society at Leeds, and take great pride and encouragement from their success in this national competition. We applaud Hiscox for their initiative in promoting awareness of data science through such a creative initiative, and would encourage other similar businesses to explore novel ways to stimulate capacity in this strategically vital technology.”

Professor Timothy M. Devinney, University Leadership Chair and Professor of International Business, Pro Dean of Research & Innovation at Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds said:

“As its title suggests, the university challenge is a fine example of modern business embracing new ideas with the goal of overcoming current challenges and preparing for those that might arise in the future. It’s exciting to see a group of talented students who are able to apply new techniques and fresh insights to those challenges. For the university, this achievement will provide a template for the ways in which we, as a business school, can develop a closer collaboration with industries and encourage more interdisciplinary research.”  

Watch this space for news about next year’s University Challenge.

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