University of Essex agrees media monitoring Knowledge Transfer Partnership deal

From left, Dr Miguel Martinez, co-founder and head of research at Signal Media, Professor Udo Krusch

From left, Dr Miguel Martinez, co-founder and head of research at Signal Media, Professor Udo Kruschuitz from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex, and David Benigson, co-founder and chief executive of Signal Media at the company's offices in Shoreditch, London. Picture: Adam Gasson - Credit: Archant

The University of Essex has agreed a new knowledge sharing deal which could have a major impact on the media monitoring market in the UK.

Under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with technology company Signal Media, researchers at the university’s Colchester campus will be involved in using artificial intelligence (AI) to convert large volumes of data from text files into more easily digestible formats.

The agreement aims to build on the success of a previous KTP between the university and Signal which helped the company secure investment of more than £5.8m and was named Best Partnership at the KTP Awards at the 2015 Innovate UK conference.

Professor Udo Kruschwitz, from the university’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, will be the academic lead for the new partnership, which will see a postgraduate hired as a research associate and project manager for the KTP which is due to start in the third quarter of this year and to run for 18 months.

Prof Kruschwitz said: “Our first KTP project has laid the groundwork for automatically processing, classifying and linking textual documents, and has evidently done so very successfully.

“We are now at a point where we will be moving from knowledge extraction to actual knowledge understanding and visualisation. It is exciting to see this new phase of our collaboration unfolding.”

Dr Miguel Martinez, co-founder and chief data scientist at Signal Media, which is based in London, said: “The KTP programme is one of the hidden gems of the innovation and business ecosystem in the UK government and I am looking forward to seeing the innovation that arises from our new collaboration with the University of Essex.”

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Rob Walker, KTP manager at the University of Essex, added: “Signal has grown into a fantastic business, in an area of AI which is well-aligned to our research.

“In an era of fast news, fake news and ever-increasing demands on business to keep up with opinion, Signal Media offer an innovative solution using exceptionally developed technology. We are proud to continue our partnership with them into a second KTP, and are grateful to Innovate UK for sharing our vision for supporting innovation in this area.”

Run by Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are part-government-funded project-based collaborations between universities and businesses created to help UK companies innovate and grow.

Projects are designed to address a specific challenge or business need and give companies access to academic expertise and a grant of up to two-thirds of the project cost.

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