The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE) will be a technology hub for the research and development of advanced engineering and advanced materials technologies across a range of industrial sectors. Member companies will be co-located with academic staff from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster to work together to develop world-class technology solutions for a breadth of manufacturing applications. The centre will help Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector to grow and develop its capabilities, enabling it to compete more successfully on both a national and global scale.
The co-location of staff and facilities will allow companies to work at a scale and in collaborations not currently feasible. It will also promote the development of skills and rapid knowledge transfer between the universities and industry, ensuring the development of innovative new product and manufacturing technologies.
The construction of the Centre is being funded by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, Invest Northern Ireland and Bombardier Aerospace. It will operate a membership model similar to those being adopted by the National Composites Centre in Bristol and the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, with an emphasis on industry-friendly access and participation arrangements. NIACE is a not-for-profit organisation, based on collaborative partnerships between industry and the universities, which will support major manufacturing companies and their supply chains to improve competitiveness.
The Centre will host up to 120 research and technical staff from participant organisations and will provide a collaborative office environment, a composites research laboratory, materials analysis laboratories, meeting rooms and a lecture theatre, as well as a wide range of laboratories and workshops equipped by Bombardier and the two universities.