A Northern Ireland consortium involved in nanotechnology has secured £42 million of Government funding to develop new tech for medical devices, communication and data storage.
Nanotechnology involves precision engineering and development processes on a minute scale of nanometres.
The Smart Nano NI consortium has been awarded £42.4 million through the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund.
The consortium, which is led by data company Seagate Technology, has also leveraged additional support from other sources, taking the total value of the development project to almost £64 million.
Queen’s University, Ulster University and North West Regional College are also part of the consortium, as are companies Analytics Engines, Causeway Sensors, Cirdan Imaging, Digital Catapult NI and Yelo. They characterise the membership as a “corridor of expertise” stretching from Londonderry to Belfast.
The project aims to develop a range of new prototypes in the spheres of medical devices, communication, and data storage.
Dr Mark Gubbins, from Smart Nano NI, said: “We are delighted and honoured to secure this investment which will deliver significant benefits for the economic growth of the region and the corridor of businesses from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry ensuring a levelling up of shared opportunities.
“We can now advance Northern Ireland’s niche capability around smart nano manufacturing and world-leading knowledge in photonics to create a self-sustaining local industry.
“It allows us to capitalise on the combined expertise of our companies and the availability of trained researchers and resources across our academic institutions”.
Stormont Economy Minister Gordon Lyons welcomed the funding boost.
“I wish to congratulate and acknowledge the outstanding team behind this achievement,” he said.
“Securing this funding through UKRI Strength in Places is a major boost for our economy and our post-Covid recovery journey and is a testament to the power of collaboration and the calibre of Northern Ireland companies.
“It will create new commercial opportunities, will drive economic growth and help tackle productivity challenges, and invigorate our manufacturing sector.”