A £6.8million Advanced Engineering Competence Centre will be created in Northern Ireland, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced.
Based at the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites & Engineering Centre (NIACE) on Airport Road, Belfast, the new competence centre will focus on developing innovative solutions in the advanced engineering sector.
Announcing the new centre at Farnborough International Airshow, Arlene Foster said: “The Northern Ireland Advanced Engineering Competence Centre is the latest in a series of new competence centres being funded by Invest NI, which are designed to rapidly transform great research into commercial success.
“This new industry-led centre is about maximising the benefits of the engineering knowledge and skills that already exist in Northern Ireland, and enhancing those capabilities to ensure that we stay at the forefront of the global advanced engineering sector.
“Through the centre, companies from industries such as aerospace, automotive and renewable energy will have the opportunity to collaborate with expert researchers at the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast to help them design and manufacture high-quality composite products.”
Financing for the centre is made up of £5million of research and development assistance from Invest NI and a £1.8million investment from industry.
Dr Scott King, Manager of NIACE and the new Northern Ireland Advanced Engineering Competence Centre, said: “There are great development opportunities for industry in Northern Ireland, and I am delighted that NIACE is the focal point for these.
“Securing £5million of assistance from Invest NI to help establish the Advanced Engineering Competence Centre will be crucial to supporting collaborative research between leading academics and industry. I would encourage companies operating in the advanced engineering sector to explore how this centre could benefit their business.”
William Morris, Chair of the Northern Ireland Advanced Engineering Competence Centre, added: “I am delighted that the Competence Centre will be based in NIACE, and welcome the funding offered by Invest NI. We aim to offer leadership to the Northern Ireland companies developing advanced technologies across a range of sectors including aerospace, automotive, renewables and defence, and to facilitate their joint research projects with local universities. I would like to think that leadership offered by Northern Ireland’s Advanced Engineering Competence Centre will support continued industrial growth in this field.”