A UNIVERSITY of Essex graduate has won a prestigious “Future Leader” honour for his ground-breaking business work on artificial intelligence.

James Madge, 29, secured the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Best of the Best Award last week for his innovations with investment company Preqin.

Mr Madge, who lives in Colchester, worked closely with the London-based company and the university to “turbo charge” the information available to its clients, as well as identifying new areas for academic research.

As well as his individual excellence, the relationship between the University of Essex and Preqin was awarded the highest possible rating of “outstanding” by funder Innovate UK.

It recognised the work to embed AI and machine learning into platforms for investors and fund managers.

Mr Madge, who achieved a Masters in Artificial Intelligence in 2018, has been supported by a specialist team at the University of Essex who are also celebrating his success.

James, who now has a full-time job at the company as VP data scientist, said: “Winning a Future Leaders Award at the KTP Awards is a great personal achievement for me, which underlines the impact I managed to achieve during the three years of the project.

“The award reflects Preqin’s commitment to KTP, including their openness to new ideas and innovation, as well as their commitment to developing individuals.

“The University of Essex supported me every step of the way along my KTP journey.

“The academic team provided technical and non-technical project support during regular online and in-person meetings - their advice was invaluable to my decision-making process.

“To anyone considering taking part in the KTP programme, do it. It is a stimulating, enlightening, and rewarding experience that opens doors, especially in terms of networking and personal development.”

The University of Essex has 38 KTPs across eight academic departments and the portfolio is worth £9million.

Robert Walker, head of business engagement at the University of Essex, added: “I really am so proud of James for winning this award and I am excited to see how his career develops as a Future Leader.”