Engineering research is the key to ensuring economic recovery and boosting job opportunities across Northern Ireland and the Republic.
That's the belief of the Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE) which has launched a campaign to promote much closer integration between universities and local companies. The IAE said competitiveness in the global economy is highly dependent on the ability to create new knowledge which it said drives new innovations and new market opportunities.
"A key aspect of this is a nation's ability to capitalise on and create new products and services from its research base and the role that business-focused research centres can play in enabling effective knowledge transfer between the academia and industry," it said in a research paper.
In "Engineering Research in Irish Economic Development" it recommended that engineers from industry should be involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research supervision, and also be appointed to adjunct positions within engineering schools.
It also recommended that arrangements should be made for industries from related sectors to support university-based engineering research with advice and funding that is eligible for tax relief. It went on to suggest engineering schools should continue to seek to attract more high-calibre foreign students to their masters and PhD programmes.
It also said each university should establish an entrepreneur-in-residence position in its engineering department in order to "have responsibility in stimulating and supporting the development of an entrepreneurial spirit across the university".
As part of the campaign the IAE - with support from Intel Labs Europe - has arranged a series of public lectures by internationally renowned speakers on the subject.
The third lecture in the series will be delivered at the Great Hall of the Lanyon Building, Queen's University Belfast, at 6pm tomorrow.
The speaker at this event will be Professor John V McCanny, director of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology at Queen's University Belfast and founder of several high-technology companies.