Student helps develop innovative food safety management system

Mar 03, 2014

Sandeep Sharma, who is currently completing a Master's degree in Advanced Computer Science with Industry at the University of Leicester, has successfully completed a graduate internship with the European Safety Bureau (ESB), helping to develop an online food management system.

The ESB is an independent food safety, health & safety and fire safety consultancy based at Woodhouse Eaves in Leicestershire.

The role of the internship was to support the ESB in the development of their Navitas online food management system. Navitas is an innovative and creative digitalised system which will meticulously combine hardware and software to revolutionise catering management. In order to accomplish this, the ESB required sound technical knowledge and support from the University to develop the software on which the Navitas system will be managed.

Sandeep said: "This was an exhilarating opportunity for me to combine my theoretical knowledge with a real-life commercial project. I have been thrilled to work within the Navitas development and cannot wait for our hard work to pay off in new client acquisition."

Sandeep had a lead role in the development of the software as he designed and coded the system which ultimately drives the whole initiative. The powerful web-app monitors fridge and freezer temperatures, interrogates probe temperatures and can be used to generate cleaning schedules and other food safety related tasks.

The Navitas system will have its official launch on Monday 28 April 2014 at the Hotelympia trade show to be held at ExCel London.

The collaboration between the University of Leicester and the European Safety Bureau was initiated through the Innovation Partnerships project. This scheme is part-funded through the European Regional Development fund and is aimed at engaging with SMEs to enable them to develop and implement innovative business solutions. The Innovation Partnerships team were able to review the company needs, facilitate a meeting with the Computer Science department in order to set up and scope a project and also helped to recruit the graduate for the internship.

Deepa Rughani, Internship Coordinator at the University of Leicester, said: "It has been great to support an exciting project with an innovative company such as ESB. They have been able to provide a fantastic internship opportunity, one in which Sandeep has excelled in."

Through the scheme, ESB were provided with free academic support and received £2,000 towards the cost of employing a recently-qualified graduate.

The academic support involved Dr Stephan Reiff-Marganiec, Senior Lecturer from the University of Leicester's Department of Computer Science, who provided expertise and advice during the project as well as providing ongoing mentoring to Sandeep, enabling effective and efficient development.

Dr Reiff-Marganiec said: "ESB are an ambitious and visionary business and working with them has been rewarding at many levels.

"For a start, the work combines a real world demand in a large sector with exciting technologies, both in hardware and more for us in web architectures and applications. Every meeting led to new aspects being explored and examined always taking it a step forward, sometimes really pushing at the limit of the technologies.

"It also was very exciting seeing one of our students grow to meet the challenges and demands put his way—a fantastically enriching opportunity of the type we expect our with-Industry students to engage in."

The internship was initially scheduled to last for four months, but due to its success it was extended for an additional four months. Sandeep will continue to work with the company to complete his MSc dissertation project and ESB have also provided another Master's student from Computer Science with the opportunity to complete their dissertation project with them.

In addition they have gone on to recruit a further graduate intern, Reha Joshi, who will put her MSc in Media and Communications Research into practice in the role of Navitas Marketing Officer.

Benjamin Gardner from ESB said:  "The partnership with the University of Leicester has provided an excellent springboard for us to launch Navitas. Aside from the financial benefits of recruiting through the University, we have been able to tap into the wealth of commercial wherewithal that courses through the veins of the University.

"The next step is to commission a Doctorate into the study of data retention and privacy within the Hospitality Sector. We very much look to continue our relationship with the University."

Limited funding through the Innovation Partnerships project is available to SMEs in the East Midlands (terms and conditions apply). Eligible companies can receive up to 24 days academic support (at no cost) and/or £2,000 funding to support the cost of employing a graduate.

Explore further: Developing an intelligent avatar to help UK's aging population

More information: More information about Innovation Partnerships can be found at: www.le.ac.uk/innovationpartnerships

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