UNIVERSITIES are meant to be places where people share and uncover information. Bearing that in mind, Inkspot Science says its data-sharing and analysis platform will hopefully be very much at home at the University of Sunderland.
Inkspot has developed a web-based platform which allows users to share data securely, carry out sophisticated analysis, and have access to flexible cloud computing. It was co-founded by former AstraZeneca and Cyprotex executive Professor David Leahy, and has been a plc since 2008.
Sunderland is the first major university to sign up with Inkspot, and will be collaborating over at least a three-year period.
Gateshead’s Inkspot now also has a dedicated office in the university’s £8.5m science complex, where it will provide support to staff and students in areas such as pharmaceutical sciences and in drug design for fields such as bacterial resistance and transplantation.
Leahy said: “The Sunderland agreement is very important. It’s everything we designed the platform for.
“We’re keen to make a success of this, as it gives Inkspot an opportunity to better understand what a modern research university really needs. In the longer term we hope to roll it out to other universities as well.”
Inkspot has been collaborating with global open source solutions firm Red Hat to fine-tune how it can service academic and research organisations.
It allows science and engineering companies to store and analyse data, run workflows and share their work with selected individuals, acting as a “scientific Facebook”. It can be used to help students to complete projects and share them with tutors, but is also useful for research both within departments and between universities nationally and internationally.
Roz Anderson, Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy, said: “The cloud technology will allow us to take a whole class of undergraduates’ results, not just an individual’s, and update them on the cloud platform, this then allows us to do a range of statistics that we can’t do with a single set of results, so it becomes an important teaching tool.
“Also, in the case of our PhD students, who may have lots of numerical results which need processing, we can begin to choose the data sets and process the numbers or graphical output at the end. We can also track results, so when you come to publish or patent your product, you have a clear record of who did what.”
Inkspot helps start-ups with software and storage facilities that can accelerate their development. Clients include marine software SimMarTec, Online Video CV and uBrands.
Leahy said: “We’ve done a lot of projects with start-ups to help them accelerate from an idea through to a first prototype. It is a low-cost way to get a lot of ideas out to market.”