NEWS6 December 2019

Young Researcher of the Year: Katherine Nicholls and Jack Tadman

News People Public Sector Retail Technology UK

At the 2019 MRS Awards, Katherine Nicholls from Natives and Jack Tadman from Opinium Research, were named joint winners of the Young Researcher of the Year Research Live award.

Katherine Nicholls, Natives (pictured, third from right)

Prior to Nicholls joining Natives four years ago, the company had limited research capabilities. She has created and grown the research function, developing a range of services in the student insight space, including brand analysis, portfolio redesign, personas and panels, and is now a director of the business.

Since 2015, she has led the creation of the National Clearing Survey (NCS) from client engagement, data analysis and report creation. The project now analyses 560,000 data points from over 4,000 student surveys. She also wrote the Edurank algorithm, which is used by marketers in the sector as a digital benchmarking tool.

Nicholls leads a team of three that manages a panel of over 25,000 students, obtaining client insights on topics including mental health and university choices. The team has worked on over 40 research projects in four years, including research aimed at shaping government policy internationally such as for Study in Sweden.

She is currently learning R with the objective of improving the company’s skills in analytics, and also mentors a student at her alma mater, the University of Reading.

Steve Evans, chief executive at Natives, said: "This award is a testament to Kas and her hard work, skill and innovation. Kas is business-minded, fantastic with a research brief and a brilliant team player. She has created and promoted the research function to secure leadership for Natives in the student insight space. Very well deserved."  

Jack Tadman, Opinium Research (pictured, second from left)

As a senior member of Opinium’s political and social team, Tadman leads the company’s partnership with Labour’s Liam Byrne MP, co-chair of the APPG on Inclusive Growth. He has spoken at closed-door briefings with the Tribune-Group of Labour MPs and the Club-De-Madrid on issues including the unequal impact of automation on society.

He has also co-authored a report by the Social Inclusion Unit and a report and policy framework with the LSE and thinktank MyLifeMySay on youth views on Brexit, which contributed to the removal of the application fee for EU citizens to have settled status.

As co-lead of the agency’s product development practice area, Tadman has helped to attract new clients, including McCain, Graze, Kopparberg and Direct Line Group, by using techniques such as hackathons, in-the-moment approaches and video capture.

He proposed to build the agency’s global chef panel, which launched in the summer of 2018, and designed a bespoke programme of research for McCain, running analysis modelling pricing data from a number of sources to create integrated pricing models.

James Endersby, chief executive at Opinium Research, said: "I’m over the moon for Jack. At only 25, he is a highly innovative and driven mixed-methodology researcher who is the first to use his initiative and creativity to design game changing approaches, deliver outstanding and impactful insights for his clients, while championing the profession outside of the industry, and inspiring others to follow his lead. If all of this were not enough, he’s also hugely popular amongst his colleagues and clients who absolutely love working with him!"

The full list of MRS Awards winners can be found here.

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