N Lab

University of Nottingham partnership set to transform AI-assisted consumer insights for social good

Monday, 13 May 2024

An innovation consultancy is set to revolutionise its consumer insights capabilities by embarking on a collaboration with researchers from the University of Nottingham.

With vast experience in the food, beverage, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries, Cambridge-based Strategic Innovation Ltd provides its clients with innovative solutions to complex challenges, including strategic road mapping, consumer insights, and technology scouting.

The company’s passion for sustainability and ambition to become sector-leaders in AI-assisted consumer insights, has resulted in Strategic Innovation entering into a 26-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Nottingham.

KTPs are a three-way collaboration between a UK-based business or charity, a research organisation, and a qualified graduate known as a KTP Associate who has the capability to lead a strategic business project.  

This collaboration sees Strategic Innovation partnered with two centres of excellence at Nottingham University Business School – behavioural analytics and social data science specialists N/Lab, and the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Leading the project, computer scientist and KTP Associate Dr Weiyao Meng will work alongside the company, bridging the gap between academia and industry.

Weiyao Meng
I’m delighted to be working with Strategic Innovation on such an exciting project. Together, we’re utilising the power of cutting-edge AI and data analytics to advance consumer research, driving impactful change for social good.
Dr Weiyao Meng, KTP Associate

She continued: "I'm truly excited to contribute my skills in Computer Science and AI to such a meaningful endeavour, especially with the supportive network provided by Strategic Innovation and the University of Nottingham.”

The partnership aims to strengthen Strategic Innovation’s consumer insights, scaling up their existing services, by applying machine learning and advanced AI techniques used by the university, to increase the speed, quality and precision of its data capture and analytical processes.

Dr John Harvey, Associate Professor at N/Lab said: “At a time when misinformation thrives online, gathering reliable, trusted data that can inform optimal decision making has never been more valuable. We at N/lab and Nottingham University Business School are excited to collaborate in this KTP with Strategic Innovation, using NLP (Natural Language Processing) to advance consumer research. Helping organisations to both better understand their audiences and promote social good.” 

Through the formation of its ‘Think Better World Alliance’ concept, the company intends to identify and harness rich text and human behavioural insights to support the collaborative transformation of food systems towards sustainability. Key to this is democratising data to ensure everyone has access to the latest, relevant, and reliable information.

Paul Frobisher, Strategic Innovation’s Director, said “I’m so excited to be at the start of a dream that has been incubating for several years. This KTP with the University of Nottingham will help us to develop innovative and scalable approaches to AI-enabled better consumer insight analysis, through which we hope to engage stakeholders from farm to fork – and beyond – to better understand the barriers and enablers to sustainability.”

Paul will be presenting at the University of Nottingham’s Future Food Symposium on 20 and 21 May 2024. Taking place on Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus, Strategic Innovation have been invited to exhibit and lead a panel discussion at the two-day event. 

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More information is available from Sarah Connor, at the University of Nottingham, on

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About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

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We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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