A data engineer who has created a regional business research and intelligence unit that will be used to drive more investment into the East Midlands has won a national award.
Harsh Shah, a knowledge transfer associate based at East Midlands Chamber, beat competition from 20 other finalists to be crowned with the Future Leader Award at the Innovate UK KTP Awards.
As part of the 27-year-old’s role, which was created last year in a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) between the chamber of commerce and De Montfort University (DMU), Harsh creates data-driven insights about the East Midlands economy that can be used to improve competitiveness and productivity across the region.
Harsh, who graduated from a DMU master’s degree in business intelligence systems and data mining in 2020, said: “I am overwhelmed to win this award, which is wonderful recognition for all the hard work we have been doing at the Chamber and DMU in establishing a regional business intelligence unit.
“I believe my drive, passion and integrity to be the best has enabled me to be recognised at national level and this is a fantastic personal achievement. It was never something I believed would be possible 18 months ago when I began the KTP, which has already accelerated my career prospects.
“It gives me great confidence to not only perform better in my role, but also highlights the work we are doing and validates the project – which aims to equip business leaders and policymakers with data-driven insights that will improve decision-making and ultimately drive more investment to the region.”
Harsh’s role in creating business research and intelligence unit
The Future Leader Award is given to associates who have shown “exceptional skills in driving and delivering innovation strategy, demonstrating great teamwork and outstanding leadership potential”.
Harsh began the two-year KTP in April 2021 with a goal to create a business research and intelligence unit that collates, analyses and utilises data-led intelligence in order to address the productivity gap and lack of inward investment across the East Midlands.
During this period, he has automated the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey – which gauges the health of the region’s economy across a number of indicators – and provided personalised results for participants.
Harsh also developed dashboards for a collective intelligence skills observatory (CISO) for Leicestershire as part of a trailblazer pilot for the Department for Education’s Local Skills Improvement Plan, which aims to put employers at the heart of skills delivery. The observatory enables businesses and further education colleges to better understand where skills gaps lie locally in order to improve training and education provision.
At the same time, he has presented at a national data strategy event hosted by Experian, developed reports used by regional media outlets to illustrate economic trends, and taken part in the Alan Turing Institute’s Data Study Group to resolve challenges for Siemens and Rolls-Royce, where he won the Data Driven Approach award for his enthusiasm and determination.
Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at East Midlands Chamber, said: “Harsh is a hugely deserving recipient of the Future Leader Award after demonstrating tremendous leadership skills in turning an idea into a commercially viable product, while also showing a real eagerness to immerse himself into the organisation and a commercial environment.
“More broadly, this recognition also helps us to demonstrate the power of data in business decision-making, as we firmly believe the insights we are creating will bring tangible rewards for the East Midlands economy by improving productivity and attracting inward investment.”
Dr Rhianna Briars, knowledge exchange officer at DMU, added: “We are so proud of Harsh for this amazing achievement. It is very exciting for Harsh and the KTP for him to be recognised nationally in this way. I’m anticipating great things to come for the ongoing work from this partnership and am certain Harsh has an exciting career ahead of him.”