Research award for spin-out firm

A SPIN-out company from a collaboration between the universities of Essex and Kent has been commended in the 2006 Research Council's Business Plan Competition.

A SPIN-out company from a collaboration between the universities of Essex and Kent has been commended in the 2006 Research Council's Business Plan Competition.

UltraSoc Technologies Ltd, which develops cutting-edge technology to combat software and hardware bugs, won £10,000 after being named a runner-up.

The company was one of seven finalists represented at an awards ceremony in London and faced stiff competition from other companies set up by UK universities, including Oxford, Warwick and Imperial College.

Founded in 2005, UltraSoc Technologies has developed patented technology that makes it easier to find and mend faults, or 'bugs', in embedded computer systems. Its aim is to make it simpler to see what is going on inside microchips, where faults are hard to detect, enabling designers of embedded systems to speed up diagnosis and correction. At the same time, increased system visibility allows designers to make their products perform faster and safer.

The technology has important commercial benefits for developers and manufacturers, as well as improving end-customer satisfaction.

Dr Klaus McDonald-Maier, UltraSoc's chief technical officer and reader in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Essex, said: “We believe our debug support strategy for next-generation system-on-chip technology will have enormous benefits in lowering manufacturing costs and improving safety in a wide range of computer and semi-conductor applications. Being so highly placed in this extremely competitive event demonstrates that others share that vision.”

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Dr James Callaghan of the university's Research and Business Development Office, added: “The fact that UltraSoc has scored so highly is testament to the strength not only of the world-leading research that underpins the company but also the depth and viability of the business.

“The University is working closely with the company to take it to the next level of commercial success.”

The Research Council's business plan competition provides support, mentoring and training to develop high quality business plans to commercialise research carried out in UK universities and research institutions.

Business propositions were submitted by participating companies from across the arts, biosciences, the environment, science and technology. The winner received a trophy and a cheque for £25,000.