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New PhD project will ‘revolutionise the way research is done’


Leap2Trend research trend software from BCU

A PhD student has unveiled exciting new software that instantly detects research trends, enabling researchers to discover emerging areas to analyse and meet the current needs of industry. 

Helping researchers

Leap2Trend has been designed by Amna Dridi, a postgraduate researcher based within the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment. Amna found inspiration for the project after discovering many early-career researchers are struggling to carve out a niche for their research. “Early detection of emerging research trends could potentially revolutionise the way research is done,” Amna says. “Trend analysis has now become an area of paramount importance in academia and industry.”

Discovering the latest trends

Leap2Trend relies on temporal word embedding to determine the similarities between pairs of keywords and their rankings. “The main contribution of this work is to instantly find research trends and overcome the limitation of citation counts, as they need time to develop,” Amna explains. “Leap2Trend mines content and discovers potentially converging keywords, while detecting their jumps over time. When there is a jump in similarity, it’s usually a strong indicator of a new trend flourishing.”

Multiple benefits – for academia and industry

The new piece of research has already yielded some success. It has been evaluated against both Google Trends hits and Google Scholar citations, with the results revealing Leap2Trend’s ability to detect trends had 80 percent better accuracy and 90 percent more precision.

Amna feels the project will have a vast amount of benefits. “It will attract researchers’ attention to unforeseen convergences between keywords, which will lead to new discoveries,” she says. “It encourages researchers to not just wait around for citation counts in order to establish new topics.”

Unrivalled support

Amna is one of Birmingham City University’s STEAM scholars, one of 50 PhD students who carry out innovative research across a range of sectors. She credits the strong relationship between her and her supervisors for Leap2Trend’s initial success. “We brainstorm, discuss different options and work towards our goals,” Amna explains. “The expertise of my supervisory team has helped me to create a really promising project.”