University of Leicester partners with The Audience Agency on innovative AI project

The University of Leicester School of Business.

The University of Leicester is working with mission-led charity The Audience Agency on an exciting new Artificial Intelligence project.

The partnership, involving the Institute for Digital Culture and University of Leicester School of Business, is being funded through Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme.

The Audience Agency, established in 2011, provides organisations in the arts, cultural and heritage sectors with customer intelligence to increase their relevance, reach and resilience.

The aim of the project is to embed AI functionality within The Audience Agency’s software, allowing their clients to optimise their segmentation strategy and facilitate strategic decision making.

The agreement, which will build on the University’s long-standing relationship with the organisation, is valued at almost £200,000 and is anticipated to last two years. Innovate UK, the country’s national innovation agency, has provided a grant covering 67% of the costs. 

KTPs connect forward thinking businesses with the UK’s world class knowledge bases to deliver business-led innovation projects, lasting between 12 and 36 months. 

The project will enable The Audience Agency to expand its customer base internationally and allow its clients to attract diverse communities to cultural, arts and heritage experiences.  

The KTP team includes a cross-disciplinary group of academics and industry professionals with expertise from mathematics, computer science, business and the arts.

University of Leicester academics, Dr William Darler, Lecturer in Applied Analytics and Digital Economy, and Professor Andrew Hugill, Deputy Director of the Institute for Digital Culture, will be working with industry experts Stephen Miller, Chief Technology Officer, and Oliver Mantell, Director of Evidence and Insight, to mentor and train Josh Lin who has been employed as KTP Associate. 

Josh has a background in mathematics and data science, having recently completed his PhD at Loughborough University, using big data sets to carry out market segmentation in the airline industry. 

Dr William Darler, from the University of Leicester School of Business, said: “This collaboration will allow The Audience Agency to gain knowledge and skills to embed learning methods within their software, and academics from the University will have the opportunity to apply their skills to a real-world project, resulting in positive economic and social impacts in the cultural sector. 

“We are firmly focused on building this relationship as we have just submitted a further Horizon EU bid in collaboration with The Audience Agency and ten other international partners across the cultural industry in Europe.” 

Oliver Mantell, Director of Evidence and Insight for The Audience Agency, said: "There's lots of hype and hyperbole about AI, but we believe this partnership will deliver tangible social and financial benefits, enabling better, better-value and quicker insights into cultural audiences. We're grateful to UKRI for their support of this innovation and look forward to drawing on the University of Leicester’s expertise in both culture and AI.” 

Since 1975, KTPs have been creating positive impact and driving innovation. Currently around 800 businesses, 100 knowledge bases and over 800 graduates are involved in KTPs across the UK. 

For any businesses seeking to drive innovation and create positive impact, contact to see how the University can support you.