The iParadigms Europe Ltd team

Software company doubles workforce

A Newcastle-based software company has doubled its workforce in just 12 months.

iParadigms Europe Ltd now employs 50 people at its international office.

The company supplies Turnitin plagiarism prevention software to universities, colleges and schools in more than 120 countries worldwide.

The system works by comparing submitted work to a vast database of content including web pages, journals and student papers and highlighting similarities.

The firm, which is a subsidiary of its US parent company, is based in Charlotte Square at i6, a council-owned business incubator for the creative digital industry sector.

Will Murray, Turnitin’s Vice President Product and International, said: “This is a fantastic success story for the North East, particularly in the midst of a recession.

“It demonstrates how hardworking and dedicated employees are in this region when given the right environment and tools.

“It’s a great area for recruiting talent, especially software engineers and multilingual marketing talent.

“I started with eight staff in a spin out from Northumbria University in October 2007. In December 2012 we had 25 staff, we now have 50.

“2014 is going to be another huge year for growth, we’ll be taking on more staff and we are hoping to achieve at least £3 million in new sales.

“A further 19 members of staff – in sales, product and development - will be recruited, many from our local universities.”

Almost 100% of UK universities, and 10,000 institutions worldwide, now use Turnitin.

During October 2010, when iParadigms’ international arm was established, more than 214,000 students were using Turnitin. Three years later, in October 2013, this had risen to almost a million.

Next year, the company will continue to target emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

In 2013 it clinched a country-wide government-backed deal to supply Turnitin to all universities in Nigeria. It is the first national rollout in Africa.

iParadigms Europe was formerly nLearning, which span out of Northumbria University in 2007 with eight staff led by Will Murray.

In 2001, the university had been chosen by JISC, the UK expert in digital technologies in education, to host a national plagiarism detection project.

In tandem with advice and guidance from the then newly-formed Plagiarism Advisory Service, universities and colleges were given access to Turnitin software free of charge for an initial three years.

Recent analysis showed that the nationwide rollout resulted in a 59% reduction in unoriginal – or potentially plagiarised - essay content between 2002 and 2012.

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