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KMi members win ISWS Summer School 2018 Awards!

Bertinoro University Photo

The 1st edition of the newly branded International Semantic Web Research Summer School (ISWS) was organised by STLab-ISTC National Research Council and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology at the University Residential Centre of Bertinoro between 1st and 7th July 2018. The Centre was located in Bertinoro, a small village on a scenic hill with a wonderful panoramic view. The school focused on diverse range of research areas including embeddings for knowledge graphs, natural language processing, ontology design patterns and Blockchain technology. The school saw an active participation by several members of KMi, including Prof. Enrico Motta was invited as the first keynote speaker at the summer school and Prof. John Domingue who attended the school as a tutor. Thiviyan Thanapalasingam (Research Assistant) and Prashant Khare (3rd year PhD student) participated in the summer school as registered students.

Enrico Motta showcases the Computer Science Ontology Portal - Photo

In his keynote speech, Enrico provided an overview of his research on scholarly data and smart city projects. The talk highlighted the research and the commercial outcomes of work undertaken by his research group. Enrico also gave motivational tips and advice to students who are pursuing a PhD in Semantic Web. John delivered two talks, a tutorial and an ‘In-Depth Pill’ session, that provided a very detailed vision of the significance and the potential impact of blockchain technologies for a decentralised Semantic Web. The talk elaborated on how various industries ranging from finance to academia could leverage Blockchain technologies to address and tackle wide range of issues.

John Domingue presenting his tutorial on a Decentralised Semantic Web - Photo

The format of the school was oriented towards advancing student’s research abilities and was meant to provide the experience of working under tight deadlines to stimulate the life of a researcher. This year, the school was attended by 9 tutors and 60 students (selected from 113 applications) from around the world. At the beginning of the week, the students were divided into 9 Research Task Forces. Each Research Task Force consisted of 6 – 7 students and were led by a tutor.

A common research problem was assigned to all research task forces – Linked Data Validity – that is to support the assessment of the validity of a Linked Data statement. By the end of the week, each group was required to deliver a research report and a 10-minute presentation of their work. Each research task force, under the supervision of their mentor, conceived a solution to the research problem with a different perspective. The ideas spanned across relevancy in the data based on a domain to leveraging blockchain technologies on linked data.

Thiviyan delivering the first part of the presentation for Hufflepuff - Photo

KMi members contributed towards the success of two groups fetching three awards in total. Team ‘Hufflepuff’, which Thiviyan was a part of and John mentored, won the best prize awards in two categories – Best Research Report and Best Presentation. As part of their work, Huffpuff proposed a model for validating Linked Data on the Blockchain network and the team also presented potential use cases, such as career and relationship validation, where the model could be useful. Team ‘Hobbits’, which Prashant was a part of, won the 3rd prize in the Best Presentation category. Team Hobbits proposed an approach to determine the validity of linked data based on the contextual and spatial relevancy within a domain.

Prashant (first from right) and other members of the Hobbits collecting their award - Photo

John participating in a game of slide karaoke - Photo

The week, however, was not just about research methodologies and tight deadlines. The school organised social events, such as games, dinners and a trip around the historical city of Rimini. The students also realised their creativity skills by creating 1-minute videos which captured the funny side of being at a summer school. Overall, the students had an intense, engaging, learning, and fun filled stay of 6 days at the summer school. The school saw a great synergy generated from a blend of experience of the tutors and enthusiasm of the students.

Ettore Rizza, an Italian PhD student from Belgium, said that he

learned a lot here, and not just about technology.

Tatiana Makhalova, a Russian student studying in France said:

It was a great experience that enhanced a wide range of skills: from hot-topic knowledge to team-working skills. Any research is not just about publishing results, it is the whole way from the idea to the completed project. I got an excellent insight on how to walk this path. Interesting and various lectures, outstanding tutors, talented participants — they make a summer school a starting point for new researches and leave with participants much more than good memories.

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The Open University is the UK’s largest university, a world leader in flexible part-time education combining a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence, transforming lives through education. Our research underpins the teaching we deliver to some 200,000 students as the UK’s largest university. Nearly three quarters (72%) of Open University research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Uniquely we operate within the four nations of the UK, with nation offices in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh as well as regional offices in England and our head office in Milton Keynes.

All of our roles play a key part in our students’ journey. We have a range of exciting opportunities for ambitious academics and researchers, as well as top class teaching and professional services roles. We offer a dynamic, inter-disciplinary research culture where academics and researchers can work creatively.

Research Assistant/Associate/Fellow for Mainstreaming Learning Analytics

Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
£30,395 to £44,559, Ref: 15336
Temporary contract until March 2021
Based in Milton Keynes
Application closing date: Thursday 29 November, 2018 – 17:00.

The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) is a distinct research unit within the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the Open University. KMi is looking for a Research Assistant, a Research Associate or a Research Fellow to work on the IoC project – how we can adapt, deploy and mainstream our learning analytics tool across a number of educational establishments nationally.

The IoC data analytics work will build on the experience of the OU Analyse project ( which aims to increase the student retention rate at the Open University and at the same time to improve the quality of education. Internet technologies enable universities to offer their students educational resources online and, at the same time to collect information about the use of these resources. By analysing students’ interactions with the virtual learning environment, it is possible to identify those who might be at risk of failing the course and offer them well-targeted additional support.

For more information about the post visit:

Research Assistant/Associate/Fellow for Blockchain Learning Verification

Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
£30,395 to £44,559, Ref: 15335
Temporary contract until December 2021
Based in Milton Keynes
Application closing date: Thursday 29 November, 2018 – 17:00.

The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) is a distinct research unit within the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the Open University. KMi is looking for a Research Assistant, a Research Associate or a Research Fellow to work on the IoC project – how blockchains can be used to store student accreditation and lifelong learning records in order to enhance employability.

The IoC blockchain learning verification work will build on the work of the Knowledge Media Institute at the Open University (KMi) who have built up an active research and development group focusing on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. Members of KMi are working on the use of blockchains to create a trustable, decentralized repository for educational certification, ePortfolios and datasets with privacy concerns or which could be subject to tampering. We are also working on connecting blockchains with Linked Data. More information on our work can be found at:

For more information about the post visit: