Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University entered into a joint research partnership in 2021 to collaborate in the delivery of a research and engineering programme for the Advanced Research and Engineering Centre (ARC) in Northern Ireland.
ARC brings together researchers, engineers and business executives, combining expertise from academia and industry within one R&D centre. This cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary team will continue to grow, with 38 additional research roles created across both universities through Invest NI funding.
The QUB Research team at ARC is led by Professor Karen Rafferty, Head of the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Our work aligns with digital transformation strategies for Northern Ireland - including the Belfast Regional City Deal and the 10X Economy Strategy - by combining world-leading research with new technology development to drive innovation across a number of business sectors.Read the Press Release
Current Research Areas
Workflow and Process Automation
The automation of repetitive information processing tasks has the potential to realise enormous advances in productivity and user satisfaction across a range of business services and solutions. By adopting natural language processing and image recognition technologies, businesses can streamline data entry and analysis, allowing users to focus on higher-level tasks.
Deep learning approaches, using large scale neural network models, have recently been successfully applied to many information processing tasks, including knowledge discovery and information extraction, text summarisation, and text generation. Such methods have been used to generate powerful models in the legal and commercial domain.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR and AR demonstrate the potential to improve learning and workflow practices under certain conditions by introducing features such as haptics, enhanced visual information and intelligent tutoring, that combine for a unique and dynamic pedagogical tool. There are a growing number of use cases for VR and AR across almost all areas of industry, such as training on complex or hazardous tasks, immersive data visualisation and interactive product demonstrations and prototypes.
As VR and AR technologies continue to develop and become more accessible, they have the potential to transform the way businesses operate. Virtual systems could offer ubiquitous, effective and affordable solutions to support both the learning and management of corporate systems and compliance processes.
- Security and Data Integrity
Blockchain technology is transforming the way businesses operate by providing a secure and transparent way to manage data and transactions. By creating a distributed ledger that is maintained by a network of nodes, with each transaction verified and recorded in a block, the technology creates a permanent and tamper-proof record of all transactions. This makes it virtually impossible to alter or delete any data stored on the blockchain, ensuring the integrity and security of the system.
This has a wide range of business use cases to improve the speed and security of transactions - from the use of self-executing smart contracts within the financial industry, to increasing transparency and traceability within supply chains systems through the creation of secure and auditable records. By combining blockchain technology with the use of digital twins for risk management and process optimisation, businesses can benefit from decentralised systems with vastly improved data integrity.