Sharing machine-learning knowledge with local business

staff from University of Kent and Portafina

Academics in the School of Computing will be working with a local finance company to help them apply machine learning to their processes.

The University of Kent has securing funding to work with Rochester based Fintech company, Portafina Investment Management Ltd, on a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership project.

The project will enable Portafina, a specialist pension advice firm, to apply state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to improve workflow and data processing. This will enable Portafina to increase their efficiency, reduce timescales and enable rapid scalability.

The partnership will recruit a recently qualified postgraduate to deliver the project. This role will be based at Portafina’s offices and work under the guidance and support of a team of academics from the School of Computing. The academics will bring a wealth of expertise in areas including developing algorithms for machine learning and text mining tasks, and techniques in natural language processing.

Senior Lecturer, Fernando Otero said: ‘The collaboration with Portafina provides a great opportunity for new research around sentiment analysis and machine learning to support decision making using real-world data, strengthening the School of Computing engagement with industries. We are looking forward to get started!’

Jamie Smith-Thompson, MD of Portafina, added: ‘We are very excited to be working with the University of Kent on a number of innovative projects that will have a real impact on our efficiency. Our intention is to make it possible to provide much-needed financial advice to a wider mass-market client base by reducing our back-office costs. We are confident these projects will also enable us to increase service quality at the same time.’

Carole Barron, Director of Kent Innovation and Enterprise believes that Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are one of a range of ways in which the University’s academic experts link up with national and local businesses to offer practical advice based on their research. Carole said: ‘We are delighted to be entering into this exciting collaboration with Portafina in the area of state-of-the-art machine learning techniques. We look forward to developing a long relationship with Portafina beyond the two year partnership.’

If you are interested in hearing more or to engage with Kent Innovation and Enterprise as your business & innovation gateway into the University please get in touch with the team on 01227 827376 or at