Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Invest NI pours £390k into hub development

Invest NI has provided funding towards a £750,000 research and development hub in Belfast set up by Scottish firm Wireless Fibre Systems.

The firm, which also has two US operations, develops wireless systems, specifically for through-water, and through-ground communications and navigation.

Its technology is being applied in environmental monitoring and communications with unmanned vehicles under ice and in emergency situations such as earthquakes or building collapses.

Brendan Hyland, chief executive of WFS, said the company’s turnover had quadrupled in the last year and its technology had been successful in industrial applications including oil and gas exploration.

“We have identified a number of potential new applications for our core products as well as more advanced concepts. The Belfast R&D centre will be crucial in helping us to explore these development opportunities and ensure we can take new products to market as soon as possible.

“We looked at a number of potential European locations for this research base, but Northern Ireland offered the most competitive option from which to achieve our long term business goals,” he said.

Invest NI has offered over £390,000 towards the project, which includes part funding from the European Regional Development Fund, to support product and skills development activities at the firm’s new R&D hub in Belfast. The investment will create eight posts, five of which have already been filled.

“The decision by this leading technology company to locate an integral part of its research activities in Northern Ireland is further proof that this region remains a highly competitive location for international high-tech businesses despite the current global economic difficulties,” said Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton. “The technology that WFS develops is unique and highly innovative, indeed they have a significant number of patent applications in Europe and the US. For Northern Ireland to play a key role in the creation of even more advanced products for such specialised markets is a true vote of confidence in our local research capability.”

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