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Minister’s visit highlights Queen’s commitment to impact-focussed innovation

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has visited Queen’s to see how University-industry R&D will harness additional investment, create new jobs and accelerate inclusive growth through the three new Belfast Region City Deal-funded Innovation Centres.

Economy Minister Gordon, Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer,, Lauren McGarry
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer and PhD student Lauren McGarry at the Northern Ireland Technology Centre.

The UK and Northern Irish governments are providing £170m funding towards the Queen’s-led Centres - the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC), the Global Innovation Institute (GII) and the Institute of Research Excellence for Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH),

On a tour of the Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC) the Minister saw how collaborative University-industry R&D currently taking place at Queen’s in areas including digital technologies, big data, automation and robotics is helping to solve real-world problems.

He was updated on progress for AMIC which will be a springboard for manufacturing innovation in Northern Ireland.

AMIC’s proposed flagship facility will be a new industry-focussed Factory of the Future at Global Point Business Park in Newtownabbey which will give advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses access to the very latest technology, specialist equipment and expertise.

It will build on 50 years of sustained innovation and industry support through the NITC, the Polymers Processing Research Centre (PPRC) and the more recent university-industry partnership, NI Advanced Composites and Engineering (NIACE) and will consolidate and enhance existing facilities in partnership with Ulster University and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

Minister Lyons said: “The Belfast Region City Deal can be a catalyst for innovation and prosperity for Northern Ireland as a whole, and I am delighted to be announcing this substantial support for three projects at Queen’s.

“The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre will be a fantastic example of our higher education institutions collaborating with industry to unlock innovation and apply learnings to solve real-world challenges.

“AMIC, alongside the two other City Deal-funded projects that Queen’s is leading on, the Global Innovation Institute (GII) and the Institute of Research Excellence for Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH), will link at scale into UK networks, helping to step up Northern Ireland’s innovation, skills and digital capabilities to deliver inclusive economic growth.

“This approach will deliver benefits for wider society, including job opportunities in the economy of the future, and aligns well with my Department’s 10X Economic Vision for a decade of innovation and growth.

“The projects are at an early stage – I wish everyone involved in progressing them every success in making these innovative ventures a reality for the benefit of the whole local economy.”

Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Professor Ian Greer, said: “The Innovation Pillar of Belfast Region City Deal is about driving collaborative university-industry R&D to harness additional investment, create new jobs and accelerate inclusive growth.

“At Queen’s we have considerable existing expertise and a long-standing track record of working closely with industry and the Innovation Centres will help us to further grow that engagement, positioning Northern Ireland alongside national and international networks.

“Working collaboratively with industry we want to drive momentum in fields including advanced manufacturing, clinical research and secure, connected digital technologies through impact-focussed innovation to create global impact where it truly matters.

“As part of this, Queen’s is committed to the employability and skills pillar of the City Deal, to ensure that Northern Ireland has a skilled workforce to continue to innovate and drive technological advances.”

The Belfast Region City Deal partners comprise Belfast City Council, five partner councils, Queen’s University and Ulster University, and four of the region’s further education colleges.

The NI Executive and the UK Government have each committed up to £350 million to the City Deal and the BRCD partners will contribute a further £150 million. By leveraging additional private sector investment, the partners will deliver a programme with an overall value of more than £1 billion, supporting the creation of up to 20,000 new and better jobs.


For enquiries contact Andrea Kennedy, Communications Manager, Belfast Region City Deal at Queen’s University, on