Artificial intelligence at heart of new partnership between Essex and Signal Media

  • Date

    Fri 2 Feb 18

KTP team

London tech company Signal Media is working with researchers at our Colchester Campus to use the latest artificial technology to ‘disrupt’ the UK media monitoring market.

This is the second Innovate UK backed Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) awarded to Essex and Signal Media and will build on the huge success of their first KTP. 

This latest KTP will use AI to extract and visualise insights from unstructured text files, instantly converting large volumes of data into engaging and easily digestible presentation formats. A postgraduate will be hired as a research associate and project manager, ready for the KTP to start in Q3 2018 and run for 18 months.

Professor Udo Kruschwitz, from our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, 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 Essex and Signal Media, 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 Essex expertise in natural language engineering, Signal created techniques to retrieve, clean and analyse vast data sets consisting of millions of pieces of media content.

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.

KTP Manager at Essex, Rob Walker, 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.”

Our first KTP with Signal 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, 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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