£6 million research centre officially opened
Pictured at the official opening of NIACE are, L-R: Minister of State, Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire MP; Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster; Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable; and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Peter Gregson
A new £6 million research centre which will ensure Northern Ireland remains at the vanguard of advanced engineering and composites research has been officially opened.
The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites & Engineering Centre (NIACE), which is co-owned by Queen’s and the University of Ulster, was officially opened by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and UK Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Arlene Foster said: "This new industry-led centre is about maximising the benefits of the knowledge and skills that already exist in advanced material and composite technologies in Northern Ireland, and enhancing those capabilities to ensure that we stay at the forefront of the global advanced engineering sector.”
Vince Cable said: “The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites & Engineering Centre is the latest addition to a valuable network of composites research facilities throughout the UK. Each of these centres has its own area of expertise but a common objective to bring together leading academics with dynamic companies and help them with the design and rapid manufacture of high-quality composite products.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “As an aerospace engineer by background, I am especially pleased to see the vision for this advanced composites and advanced materials manufacturing centre become a reality. It will enable leading academics to work alongside colleagues from Bombardier and other Northern Ireland manufacturers interested in the development and application of advanced composites.
“As part of the UK network of advanced manufacturing centres, Queen’s and its partners in NIACE will ensure Northern Ireland remains at the vanguard of advanced engineering and composites research – a further and very direct means of supporting economic growth in Northern Ireland. I congratulate all involved.”
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.
Funding to build the £6 million centre was announced in February last year and included financing from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) through the Strategic Investment Fund, Invest Northern Ireland and Bombardier Aerospace.