Students Staff

08 April 2011

University of Essex spin-out UltraSoC Technologies awarded major ‘low carbon’ development grant

University of Essex spin-out company UltraSoC Technologies has been awarded a substantial grant by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to develop cutting-edge technology to help cut carbon emissions from cars and other vehicles.

The grant will part-fund a project to create debugging technology to enable the development of next-generation low carbon automotive systems.

The project, which will cost up to £375,000, will aim to deliver a debugging platform for the electronic control systems needed to reduce the carbon emissions of car engines. These control systems will become increasingly important in the future due to ever stricter European Union emissions legislation.

UltraSoC, backed by Octopus Ventures, is pioneering advanced debugging technology for the embedded electronic systems increasingly used in many everyday products from cars to mobile phones.

The company is developing UltraDebugTM to debug the application software in the multiple processor systems that deliver the functionality and performance in many modern embedded electronic systems.

Dr Karl Heeks, Chief Executive Officer of UltraSoC, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this funding from EEDA and ERDF, which will enable us to develop much needed Silicon Intellectual Property for application debugging for the next generation of engine systems which will be required to have lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions.’

The company was founded by Cambridge entrepreneur Dr Karl Heeks and University of Essex academics Professor Klaus McDonald-Maier and Dr Andrew Hopkins in 2006.

Professor McDonald-Maier, who is now UltraSoC’s Chief Technical Officer, said: “This project will enable us to build on our leading-edge debugging platform to address some very important issues at the heart of real-time electronic systems.”

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan, commented: “We are very gratified to see world class research which originated at the University of Essex making an impact to help solve important technological and indeed environmental challenges.”


Notes to editors

For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377.

Additional information:

About UltraSoC: UltraSoC Technologies is a Venture Capital-backed independent provider of System-On-Chip (SoC) infrastructure to enable rapid development of embedded systems based on advanced SoC devices. For further information please visit or contact Dr Karl Heeks on 01223 422133.

About EEDA: Grants for Research and Development are administered by EEDA and are designed to help technology focussed entrepreneurs and companies carry out research and development work on innovative products and processes. The grants are designed to help assess the technological and commercial feasibility of turning highly innovative technology into new products or processes. For more information visit

About ERDF: The project is accepted as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme 2007-13 to support “low carbon economic growth”, and part of the funding will be provided from European Union funds. For more information please visit

About Octopus Investments: Octopus Investments, founded in 2000, is a leading investment specialist. We offer innovative core and satellite investment solutions to UK investors, and a wide range of funding options for exceptional companies.

Our ‘core’ investment solutions include a discretionary management service, multi-manager multi-asset OEICs, and single manager OEICs. These are complemented by our range of ‘satellite’ solutions, including venture capital trusts, enterprise investment schemes and inheritance tax products. Each product has been designed to solve specific problems faced by financial advisers and their clients.

Our funding solutions cover the entire capital structure, from equity through mezzanine to senior debt, and we seek out exceptional management teams in unlisted companies with whom we can partner.

Octopus has built its business around three core pillars: customer led innovation, excellence in customer service and the quality of our people. The Company employs over 200 people to manage over £2 billion in funds under management.

Octopus has won a number of awards for its products and customer service. The Company has twice been voted one of the best 100 SMEs to work for by the Sunday Times, and is one of only two fund management companies to be AAA rated by financial advisers for customer service.

For more information please visit:

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