ADAPT Researchers Take Part in New US-Irish Entrepreneurial Training Scheme

19 January 2021
ADAPT Researchers Take Part in New US-Irish Entrepreneurial Training Scheme

Posted: 27/03/17

A team of three researchers from ADAPT took part in a new training scheme organised by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).  The new collaboration between SFI and the NSF for the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Programme is the first of its kind in Europe and focuses on the development of entrepreneurial skills that will enable researchers to realise opportunities to enhance the economic and societal impact of their research.

The ADAPT team, led by Professor Andy Way and including Dr Haithem Afli and Dr Páraic Sheridan, focuses on leveraging language and content technologies to deliver personalised experiences and services in the financial services sector.   Speaking about the project Professor Way said: “Despite financial institutions ‘drowning’ in customer data, they lack the customer insights necessary to deliver personalised experiences and services.  User Generated Content (UGC) on social media has led to widespread opportunities for many practical applications of Sentiment Analysis technology.  We have developed Sentiment Analysis technology tuned to Social Media text styles and will develop tools tailored to the Financial Services industry to deliver enhanced customer insights leading to improved personalised services and customer experience.”

The I-Corps@SFI programme involves the team participating in an immersive bootcamp to discover commercial opportunities for the research.  This is followed by a mentored programme that will see teams interview up to 100 potential customers over a six-week period, using collected observations to arrive at a viable and validated business model for a proposed technology.  The skills for opportunity discovery and business model development are based on the Lean LaunchPad methodology developed by Steve Blank of Stanford University the I-Corps programme.

The ADAPT team will focus on Sentiment Analysis technology which has received a lot of attention in Computational Linguistics research of late.  Sentiment Analysis is the computational study of opinions, sentiments and emotions as they are expressed in text, and it has been a core area of research within the ADAPT Centre.

The proliferation of opinion-rich data from User Generated content (UGC) on social media, which includes anything from political commentary to product reviews, has led to widespread opportunities for many practical applications. It is of huge interest to companies to be able to detect opinions on certain aspects of services and products as expressed in reviews and social media posts.

Dr Haithem Afli commented: “Conversations with industry and technology experts have led to developing a focus on using customer analytics to inform improved customer experience in the Financial Services domain. The next phase of commercialisation is to undertake detailed customer discovery, needs mapping, technology and competitive landscaping and to hone a clear value proposition.”

The ADAPT team was selected following a competitive process run jointly by SFI and the NSF.

Share this article: