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University of Buckingham, TechConnect West Virginia receive grants for biometrics R&D

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The University of Buckingham’s Department of Applied Computing has been awarded £120,000 (US $181,780) in government funding and investment from a local company, for research into biometrics authentication to secure mobile transactions.

The university has received Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) funding, which comes jointly from federal agency Innovate UK and DeepNet Security.

UB will work together with DeepNet Security to develop a seamless and reliable authentication solution based on people’s hand signatures to protect private data on mobile devices.

The two previously partnered on another KTP project, less than a year ago, where they developed a secure face recognition component for authentication software.

The software will enable business clients to authenticate themselves by using their fingers to write their signatures on the touch screen of a smartphone or tablet.

The department will share its specialized knowledge with DeepNet Security, who will in turn deploy their biometric authentication technologies.

“With the ever increasing use of smartphones to conduct online transactions, the accurate and convenient user authentication on such devices is of paramount importance, said Dr. Harin Sellahewa, head of applied computing at University of Buckingham. “We are very excited about this partnership as it enables us to see our most recent research in biometrics on smartphones being realized as a commercial product.”

Meanwhile, TechConnect West Virginia received a US $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to “spur innovation and entrepreneurship, long-term competitiveness and job creation across West Virginia,” according to a report by State Journal.

TechConnect works toward diversifying West Virginia’s economy through innovations in advanced energy, chemicals and advanced materials, biometrics, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

According to its website, TechConnectWV’s biometrics platform “focuses primarily on opportunities and applications in biometrics and associated sensing technologies for security and identity verification purposes.”

ScaleUp West Virginia is a two-year suite of programs designed to develop the next generation of entrepreneurship in West Virginia by promoting the state’s SBIR/STTR programs.

In addition to the $500,000 grant, TechConnectWV will receive an additional $210,000 in local funding, for a total project spend of $710,000.

TechConnect executive director Anne Barth said the funding “will support programs designed to accelerate the commercialization of new products and technologies, leading to the creation and expansion of small businesses and jobs.”

“With EDA’s support, ScaleUp West Virginia will also foster advanced manufacturing and support small manufacturers in the state by working with proven service providers to catalyze the creation and retention of jobs and improve economic opportunities,” said Barth.

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