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Students take on data science challenge with international manufacturer

24th July 2023

Masters’ students from Northumbria University, Newcastle, have teamed up with leading advanced materials manufacturer Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) on an exercise testing the benefits of data science for problem solving.

Organised by Dr Colin Richardson, from Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School, the so-called Hackathon event was designed to highlight what is achievable when focussing a group of people on a data science challenge. Data Science is a rapidly evolving area where businesses and leaders will need to utilise technologies to a level where they can be embedded into routine daily activities to inform data-driven decision-making in fast moving environments.

Following a presentation by FST HR Advisor Andy Hale, the 20 business students from Northumbria began working on 2 million rows of data provided by FST. They will present their findings to the US-based Chief Executive Officer of FST and senior managers later this month during a planned visit to the UK’s site in North Tyneside.

Dr Colin Richardson, Hackathon

Dr Richardson explained: “This was a great experiential learning opportunity for our students and an opportunity to work with a world-leading organisation. In just a few short hours, our amazing students cleansed, categorised and developed a data model from the whole dataset. They even had time to generate some initial predictive models to forecast future sales. Finally, students started to produce visualisations to help make sense of the computer code and outcomes emerging from the data. They will continue to polish the visuals to present at a later date.

“Events such as this show how effective our future graduates are in embracing both business and technical skills to support complex business environments, helping to uncover opportunities or issues that would have otherwise remain hidden.  It also prepares our students to enter these environments in the most effective way as they develop their careers, including with major international companies such as FST.

“It was a great day and I am very proud of our students and what they achieved. Well done to everyone involved, and a huge thank you to FST for making the experience possible.”

FST is a leading supplier of advanced materials and products for customers working on automotive, industrial and alternate drivetrain applications.

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