Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced that his Department has signed an agreement which will allow the construction of the North West Regional Science Park at Fort George.
The North West Regional Science Park will be a satellite of the highly successful Northern Ireland Science Park, based at Titanic Quarter in Belfast. The signing of the agreement will allow construction work to begin on the 50,000 sq ft commercial and research centre science park facility. The work is expected to cost £12million and take 12 months to complete.
Making his announcement, the Minister said: “Today marks a key milestone in establishing the North West Regional Science Park. This project is a very exciting development for Londonderry as it has the potential to create hundreds of new high quality jobs.
“I am glad that the Northern Ireland Executive through my Department is able to sign the agreement to transfer the lands for the Science Park at the Fort George site to allow the project’s construction to get underway.”
He continued: “The North West Regional Science Park will help grow new technology and knowledge-based businesses in the Londonderry area and deliver new employment and development opportunities. The construction phase of the park is planned to commence next week and it is anticipated that the park will be operational by the autumn of 2014. I look forward to seeing the project develop when construction gets underway.”
Frank Hewitt NI Science Park Chairman, said: “On behalf of the Partners involved in the North West Regional Science Park Project, I want to thank the Department of Social Development for their support in bringing project to Derry~Londonderry. The city now has the opportunity to build on the success already achieved in the Northern Ireland Science Park on Queen’s Island, Belfast.
“Our collective aim now is to develop on the Fort George site a dynamic, knowledge-based centre which will both encourage the talent and creativity of companies and young people in the North West, and attract more science-based companies from around the world to invest in the area. We greatly appreciate the invaluable support which we have received from the wider North West community and have enjoyed the process of developing close relationships with our Science Park partners, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and look forward to a very successful collaboration. Now we need to get started!”
Notes to editors:
1. The Fort George site is owned by the Department for Social Development.
2. Over £12million of funding, from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, has been provided to deliver the project.
3. As part of the project a 20,000 sq ft extension to the Co-Lab facility at Letterkenny Institute of Technology will be created establishing a NISP presence across the whole of the North West Business Technology Zone. The combined sites have the potential to create up to 285 added value jobs by 2019.
4. Project partners include the Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) Foundation Ltd, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the North West Region Cross Border Group (NWRCBG).
5. Match-funding for the North West Regional Science Park project has been provided by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland. DSD has provided a further £1million towards the project
6. Planning Permission was granted on 4 June 2013.