Ontologies as generative frameworks

Although these techniques can find connections between research activities which are already taking place, a question which could be posed is whether it is possible to identify completely new areas for research. To do this the project experimented with and implemented techniques using ontological representations interpreted as a generative framework which specifies the syntax and semantics of a “language” of research topics. Using this approach, ontologies can be used to deduce research topics that do not exist in a knowledge structure from ones that do. An application was implemented to carry out the required traversal of the ontology and the generation of the potential new research themes. This is a complex area and maximising the number of meaningful new themes generated requires careful consideration of how the ontology is organised and concepts specified. Nevertheless, using this technique even at an early stage led to a successful project proposal, demonstrating the possibilities which exist in the use of this type of method and the need for further work in this area.