News release – 31 January 2018
Artificial intelligence company Signal have been awarded their second Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Essex, enabling them to disrupt the UK media monitoring market.
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.
The focus of this latest KTP project between Signal and the University of Essex is to develop new techniques to extract and visualise insights from unstructured text files, instantly converting large volumes of data into engaging and easily digestible presentation formats. A postgraduate, who will act as the research associate and project manager, is in the process of being hired and the project is set to kick-off in Q3 2018 and run for 18 months.
Professor Udo Kruschwitz, from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex, will be the Academic Lead. He 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.”
This is the second KTP between the University of Essex and Signal, the first one in 2015 helped the company secure investment of over £5.8m. This played a pivotal and transformative role in the development of Signal’s AI-powered media monitoring capabilities as well as the company’s growth. Utilising the university’s expertise in natural language engineering, Signal created techniques to retrieve, clean and analyse vast data sets consisting of millions of pieces of media content.
Rob Walker, KTP Manager for this project from the University of Essex, said: “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.”
Building upon this capability, Signal now offers hyper-relevant, near real-time access to the world’s news disrupting the UK media monitoring market and paving the way to further development of their product to support additional use cases. In fact, the partnership proved so successful that the graduate hired as the first KTP associate, Dr Miguel Martinez, is now co-founder and chief data scientist at Signal Media. The collaboration was acknowledged with an award for Best Partnership at the KTP awards at the 2015 Innovate UK conference.
Dr Miguel Martinez, Co-founder and Chief Data Scientist at Signal 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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About Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a part government-funded programme run by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to encourage collaboration between businesses and universities across the UK. KTPs are sponsored by Innovate UK, research councils and a number of other bodies. Sponsors fund between 50-67% of the project costs dependent on the size of the business. KTPs have been helping UK businesses improve their productivity and profitability by making better use of knowledge, skills and technology available within the UK since they launched in the 1970s.
Signal is an artificial intelligence company developing smart technology for smart organisations to power informed decision-making. Using the power of AI, Signal Media have created solutions that enable the real-time discovery and analysis of hyper-relevant information and news. Headquartered in East London, Signal has 150+ clients including four of the world’s largest insurers, 10 of the world’s largest banks, 35 of the top law firms and a selection of FTSE 350 companies. Signal Media was founded in 2012 and has raised £8.2 million in funding and now employs 65 people.
About University of Essex
The University of Essex is now in the top 5 in the UK for number of KTPs after securing funding for a sector-leading seven projects across London and the south east in 2017 with Essex researchers now working on an incredible 23 KTP projects.
Essex is already the leading university in the East of England and London for KTPs and the programme is recognised as a key vehicle for ensuring the University’s research impacts our community and the economy.