Success Breeds Success
Since the creation of Ulsterís Office of Innovation, as reported in the last edition of U2B, the Universityís commercial output has continued to accelerate and grow.
The annual Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey which concluded in January 2008
highlighted a massive 430% increase in the number of consultancy assignments undertaken by Ulsterís academics, a 240% increase in
the level of research contracted by local companies and a 15% increase in technology transfer activity. We are delighted with
our increase in performance and aim to build on this momentum in 2008.
This edition of U2B highlights how the application of University
expertise to a range of business needs, has led not just to industry recognition, but also international acclaim.
I would encourage anyone who
is interested in any of the stories, or who would be keen to engage with the University to see how it might help their business, to contact our
Business Liaison Office on 028 9036 8019 or email
Director of Innovation
SOPHIA Search: Donít just Search your Information, Understand it!
SOPHIA Search Ltd, a spin-out from Ulster in partnership with Saint Petersburg State University, was named
the overall winner at this yearís £25K Entrepreneur Competition, sponsored by Science Parks and
SOPHIA Search has developed a sophisticated search engine for organisations with vast reserves of
SOPHIA automatically trawls through documents, identifies key themes that they contain and then groups
them into themes to which they are topically most similar. Therefore when a user requests information,
SOPHIA returns coherent themes relating to the query, each one containing topically similar documents.
For example, if you searched for java, possible themes would include programming, an island and coffee.
This knowledge improves decision-making as users no longer have to sift through long lists of topically
diverse information to find what they need.
Dr David Patterson, CEO of SOPHIA Search explained: ďSOPHIA just doesnít find relevant information for customers,
it also empowers them with an understanding of the meaning of the information returned. Using conventional search
is akin to using a torch in a dark room (the torch represents the search engine and the room, an organisationís
information). Only the parts of the room that have the beam of light focussed on them can be seen at any one time,
with limited understanding of the information in view. Using SOPHIA is like flicking the switch for a bright
ceiling light. The whole room can be seen and all information understood at once.
For additional information on SOPHIA Search, please visit the website
telephone 028 9093 0030 or email
Communicating with Business
The School of Communication delivers
undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in
communication, advertising, public relations,
lobbying, health communication, counselling and
linguistics. In order to meet the needs of business,
the School is continually developing its range of
As part of current planning and development
activities, the School wishes to engage with
businesses across Northern Ireland. Market
Research is being conducted in the form of an
online questionnaire. To access and complete the
questionnaire, please log on to www.ulster.ac.uk/cpdsurvey
contact Dr Diane Hazlett,
Head of School of
telephone (028) 9036 6453
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