From rural classrooms, to digital lessons and Artificial Intelligence: Law graduate and 2020 Brunel Alumnus of the Year Dev Aditya has been named as one of the top 30 under 30 UK Global Young Innovators for helping to tackle the biggest education and training issues faced globally.
Working to solve the global education and training divide, his start-up - Otermans Institute - is providing skills training in some of the least accessible parts of the world, including rural Himalayan villages, United Nations Refugee and Internally Displaced Camps and regions affected by conflict and war.
The Global Young Innovators programme is jointly run by UKRI (United Kingdom Research & Innovation), EDGE and Newable and provides support to the selected innovators and entrepreneurs for nine months to scale the impact of their work and offer seed funding. This opportunity also provides partnerships with South African innovators to help spread the innovations in other parts of the world.
Dev Aditya said: “It is very humbling to be selected in this cohort of top young innovators and I am looking forward to utilising all of the support and funding it will bring to scale the impact of our work further, and to also start serving unserved learners in the African continent.”
Under his leadership, Otermans Institute have conducted field research across 3,000 km in South Asia and developed an in-school training model to improve the future employability of students in the industrial revolution 4.0. This has now been taken onboard by the Government of Uttarakhand in India to train state school students in their state.
Following COVID-19, when their in-person training work was abruptly halted, Otermans Institute made their training digital and are now serving less advantaged students in eight countries. Despite going digital at scale, they realised that the lack of human trainers and teachers would still limit the number of learners they could reach and cause friction in maintaining trainer quality. To tackle this, they have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) driven virtual teacher, initially tested within a UN camp in Kurdistan in January 2021: an initiative that Dev Aditya believes could solve teacher inaccessibility for millions of unserved learners globally.
Supported by the wider Brunel University London community, current staff and students also in the team include College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences academic, Dr Pauldy Otermans; College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences researcher, Geert Jansen; and Computer Science undergraduate student, Jason Xavier. They are also supported by Brunel’s Co-Innovate programme under Innovation Director Gurnam Selvarajah and recently welcomed Computer Science postgraduate alumnus Dipesh Sharma to their advisory board to boost their technological expansion.
Dev Aditya completed his degree in Law in 2017 and was also the Vice President of the Brunel Students’ Union in 2017-18. Since then, he has been working on social and community projects globally and was voted by the alumni community as their 2020 Alumni of the Year award winner.