2021 conference to bring £4m boost to Belfast
Belfast is to receive a £4m economic boost after it was selected as the location for a conference on hi-tech materials used in manufacturing, including Bombardier's C Series jet.
The city will play host to 2,000 experts on composites from around the world after winning a bid to hold the International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM) in 2021.
Knowledge of composites has become key to Northern Ireland's success in engineering - most notably in the creation of advanced composites used for the wings of the C Series jet, which are made in Belfast. But the success of the jet is now under threat thanks to a US trade dispute.
The city's win was announced in X'ian in China, after a pitch led by Professor Brian Falzon, Queen's University's head of the school of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Prof Falzon said: "ICCM is the Olympics of conferences in composites research, bringing together a global community of experts in this field, which continues to have huge research and exploitation potential.
"Winning this conference was the result of a tremendous team effort from Queen's University, the Advanced Composites Research Group, Visit Belfast, the Belfast Waterfront and Conference Partners International, with everyone coming together to show that Belfast can successfully host this conference.
"Hosting ICCM will help establish Belfast as a global player and centre of excellence for composites research, and I am looking forward to welcoming colleagues from all over the world to Belfast in 2021." Visit Belfast chief executive Gerry Lennon said around 74 conferences were held in Belfast last year, adding around £32.5m to the economy.