Cross-border business development agency InterTradeIreland is to invest £8.8m to help small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) to take advantage of science, engineering and technology graduates.
The money will be put towards its Fusion programme which allows students from the three disciplines to gain industry experience while at the same time helping SMEs.
The graduates will be employed for a 12-18 month period to create and develop "technologically innovative and commercially viable projects and services".
Aside from management experience the graduates will be awarded a fully-funded Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Management.
The company is also partnered with a third level institution to gain access to the specialist expertise they need, facilitating a three-way cross border partnership.
Thomas Hunter McGowan, CEO of InterTradeIreland, said the programme can boost companies both north and south of the border.
"We are encouraging SMEs to participate in the Fusion programme, to improve their productivity, increase their revenue potential and to create real jobs for graduates," he said.
"Our further investment in 135 cross border technology transfer projects is testament to the strength of this programme which delivers tangible outputs for SMEs.
"Through creating an innovation eco system north and south, we can offer SMEs the potential to externally source and connect with a wider variety of relevant expertise, while collaborating with graduates and universities to deliver product and service innovations."
Fusion graduate Paul McCann assisted engineering company EMS Ltd and during his time was mentored by academics Tommy Gartlan and Kimmitt Sayers, both from the Department of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering at Dundalk Institute of Technology.
Harry McCourt, managing director at EMS Ltd, said the programme was worthwhile.
"The Fusion programme has enabled EMS to develop cutting edge technology for the automatic sorting and separation of a wide range of waste materials," he said.