Open for business

Open for business

The University of Hull has played a pivotal role in supporting businesses.

Hull University does more than getting the best from undergraduates. Last year, they made critical breakthroughs for industry, celebrated the success of the University of Hull’s lifesaving work and helped fledgling businesses get off the ground. Here we take a look at a few examples of the University’s work

Virtual Stars
Gaming is a growth industry in the region because education and business have combined to create a fertile breeding ground for creative entrepeneurs. Hull graduates have founded a number of companies making their mark in global industry. These include Gateway Interactive whose debut title Spectre has been launched on the Xbox One and VISR whose virtual reality headsets were used to view 3D scenes at the UK premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Leicester Square. Knowledge gained from the University coupled with support from mentoring organisation Platform Studios helps graduates make Hull the springboard for them to enter the global digital gaming market. BetaJester’s director Adam Boyne said: “BetaJester would not be where we are without the opportunities and support available at the University of Hull and through Platform.”

Making a Global impression
Ink developed by Hull Chemistry graduate Haydn Ward is being used on tickets for everything from the New York Subway to the Paris Metro and UK rail tickets.

Haydn And RobHaydn graduated with a first class honours in Chemistry in the summer of 2014. A day later he began work at BemroseBooth Paragon (BBP), in Hull, after signing up to undertake a Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme, a part government-funded programme to encourage collaborations between businesses and universities. Haydn’s primary task was to formulate magnetic ink that could be used in the manufacture of tickets. This was followed by ‘scale-up’, through the design and development of a full-scale ink manufacturing plant.

For several years BBP had been buying magnetic ink from an external supplier but it became essential for the company to develop its own solution for the ink. Twelve months after beginning the KTP, Haydn, who was keenly supported by the University partners, had developed ten types of magnetic ink. The ink has helped BBP to secure a multi-million pound contract with UK rail and other organisations around the globe.Haydn said: “If I look back at what I have achieved over this last year, I find it incredible. I couldn’t have been given a better opportunity than this.” Haydn is now trying to develop new products using the ink he has developed as well as undertaking a higher degree in Chemical Engineering.

Rob Burgin, MD of BBP, said: “We have all gained a great deal from our partnership with the University. Haydn is an asset to the company and his work has contributed to the future stability and profitability of the company. We have been extremely impressed by the University, by the knowledge, the commitment, the enthusiasm and the support.”

Life Saving Development
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the University of Hull’s development of critical software to help fire fighters in theirlifesaving work.

In 2005 Cleveland Fire Brigade asked the University of Hull to help them develop 999 emergency mobilisation systems so that fire fighters could use computer technology. Today SEED, a unit within the University’s Department of Computer Science, has a portfolio of ten products, but its flagship software remains the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT), first used a decade ago. The refined and updated MDT helps firefighters from all over the country get to the scene by the most effective route, provides vital hazard information, rescue procedures and secure communications. Firefighters say it helps them save lives. Humberside Fire and Rescue Operations manager Robert Hawkins, who has been a firefighter for 29 years said:

“It has changed how we approach a job. When we are on our way to a fire or an accident I can see exactly where we are going and I can begin to plan how we will manage the situation before we arrive. For example, if we are going to a fire in a terraced house, I can see the street before we arrive and I can work out how the crew can get round the back of the house. The clock is always ticking for us, particularly if someone is trapped in a burning house and this equipment saves us time which is vital – it could be the difference between life and death.”

SEED now serves more than a third of the UK fire and rescue services.