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Office of Innovation
University of Ulster
Jordanstown Campus
BT37 0QB

Tel: 028 9036 8019

Sponsored by:
Department for Employment and Learning

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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 

Tim Brundle
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 PricewaterhouseCoopers.

SOPHIA Search has developed a sophisticated search engine for organisations with vast reserves of unstructured data.

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 courses.

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

For further information contact Dr Diane Hazlett, Head of School of Communication, telephone (028) 9036 6453 or email

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