Business context

Preqin is a market leading provider of financial data and intelligence on the alternative assets market.

They’re renowned for the quality of their data and wanted to further unlock its potential by automating some of their industry-leading analytical processes usually handled by their team of researchers. At the same time, Preqin were keen to get support in identifying connections and ‘underlying knowledge’ from their data and advancing their information retrieval methodologies.


The overarching goal was to enable faster and higher-volume reporting to investors while maintaining quality and allowing their researchers to add value in other areas.

Research solution


Preqin embarked on two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) across two different domains: (1) advanced machine learning to develop faster, more automated extraction of key criteria from investment research; and (2) cutting-edge knowledge graph and network science research to enable the firm to generate advanced insights from huge volumes of dissimilar data.


Through Innovate UK funding, the tech team at Preqin were able to engage Professor Phillip Leifeld and Dr Spyros Samothrakis to lead the projects, in collaboration with two appointed data scientists specialising in text analytics and network science applications.


By combining advanced algorithm development with sophisticated machine learning methodologies and network science; the academic teams were able to make sense of both structured and unstructured data to deliver new insights and automate the provision of recommendations at scale.

Business value

Preqin has exceeded all commercial impact projections and is on track to secure an excess of £1.5m return on their investment. The firm now boasts an AI enabled suite of insight tools for their investors and commended the project for operating as a ‘partnership rather than a consultancy’.

The first KTP, now complete, saw Preqin awarded Best KTP Partnership 2019 at the Essex KTP Celebration, with the appointed Data Scientist, James Madge, being recognised as a Future Leader by Innovate UK. James also secured a lead researcher role with Preqin as Vice President of Data Science, to continue to further the KTP outcomes.

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Innovate UK funding

Essex has successfully secured more Innovate UK KTP funding than any other university in the East of England or London (and we're number 1 in the UK). You could access around £150k through this program or equally partner with us on a Smart grant and secure up to £3m to work with a consortia on your project. Essex will lead the entire process and have a sector-leading track record at winning this funding. All projects are commercially driven and underpinned by world class research from Essex.

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