Driving engineering-led solutions to economic and social challenges.
Our world-leading researchers focus on sustaining a pipeline of world-leading basic science that delivers impact through commercialisation and knowledge exchange.
We work with partners across the University, regionally, and beyond, to transform a dependency on traditional manufacturing into a knowledge-based, data-driven economy. Influenced by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we have eight core research topics.
For two successive years (2019, 2020), Queen's has been ranked first in the UK for commercialising academic research (Octopus Ventures).
Our large scale engagement with industry, is evidenced by the contribution of nearly half of the University’s 133 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), and has added an estimated gross value of £55M to the economy. Currently 1954 employees are employed in 37 active spin out companies and four of our spin-out companies have secured over £76M in venture capital investment.
Our research is funded by Invest NI’s Competence Centre, EPSRC, INTERREG VA Programme, the UK Government and other high-quality funding.
Our Centre for Secure Information Technology has played a major role in establishing the region’s world-recognised status in cybersecurity. It is a founding partner in the Global EPIC3 world-wide network of 24 cybersecurity research and innovation ecosystems, in the London-based Cybersecurity Innovation Centre (LORCA), and has helped in creating 1,600 jobs across 40 Northern Irish companies.
We are a founding member of two major international collaborations and have collaborated widely across the globe.
The UK-Jiangsu 20+20 World Class University Consortium (involving 20+ Chinese and 20 UK universities) focused on advanced manufacturing, environmental engineering and healthcare and; the UK-China University Consortium on Engineering Education and Research (involving 6 UK partners) focused on areas of energy and intelligent manufacturing.
We have engaged in over 15 US-Ireland tri-nation collaborations, engaging with Universities such as Alabama at Birmingham, Central Florida, Georgia Tech., Minnesota, New York, North Carolina State University, Purdue, Rice, University of Texas at Dallas, Utah, Virginia Tech, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Dublin.
Other collaborations include LowCoPreCon with the University of Malaya and Monash University Malaysia and iGIVE with the Harbin Institute of Technology and State Grid Electric Power Research Institute in China.
Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT)
Linking researchers from a wide variety of electronic and communications disciplines on such a scale that rapid and successful addressing of major societal challenges is possible. It comprises the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) - a leading centre in Europe for cyber security research/innovation, the Centre for Wireless Innovation (CWI) – which invents the underpinning technologies for mobile, medical and space applications and the Centre for Data Science and Scalable Computing (DSSC) - which conducts research into core machine learning and data science for heterogeneous data sources.
Centre for Intelligent Autonomous Manufacturing Systems (i-AMS)
i-AMS spans engineering disciplines, computer science, applied mathematics and psychology, and works in partnership with the Northern Ireland Technology Centre to develop innovative technologies and solutions for Industry 4.0. It addresses advanced manufacturing by focusing on three areas: (1) virtual sensing, prognostics & virtual factory simulations, (2) flexible automation and robotics and (3) autonomous and intelligent decision making.
Centre for Materials & Advanced Technologies for Healthcare (MATCH)
An interdisciplinary research initiative with the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences centred on healthcare technology. It focuses on creating: (1) smarter technologies that are biocompatible and strongly antimicrobial; (2) future therapies to enhance solubility, bioavailability and stability of novel medicines and (3) optimization of strategies and technologies for enhancing patient care.
Sustainable Energy Research Centre (SERC)
SERC addresses the clean energy and advanced liquid materials themes and acts as a focal point for the technological aspects of energy research. It also incorporates Queen’s University Ionic Liquids Laboratory and the Competence Centre in Advanced Sustainable Energy (an industry-led research centre funded through Invest NI’s Competence Centre programme, covering all forms of renewable energy including marine, wind and bio-energy as well as energy systems).
There is a vibrant and highly supportive research culture across the University with 300 academics and researchers working in this field.
We have adopted a Postdoctoral Development Centre model which provides discipline-specific advice and guidance, promotes a positive culture, and facilitates a community for all researchers. Part of our £1M Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) has been ring-fenced for ECRs to allow funding of pilot projects and/or networking events with collaborators in development assistance countries.
The Queen’s Fellowship Academy provides professional and career development for research fellows in the early-stage of their careers with research interests that align with current research strengths at Queen’s.
Our Graduate School is a vibrant hub for intellectual development, exchange and collaboration, supporting postgraduates to be thinkers, communicators, innovators and leaders who are future ready.
We invest millions in the development of our research facilities to ensure that our staff, students and collaborators have the very best equipment.
We have established and implemented a number of major initiatives including a £50M R&D Engineering Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Applications (with Randox Laboratories), a £33M ‘Strength in Places’ project (with Artemis Technologies), a £10M ‘phase 2’ Innovation and Knowledge Centre, a €9.3M Bryden Centre for marine and bio-energy research, and a £5M cross-disciplinary William Wright Technology Centre in transport technology.
The establishment of the £5M Tier-2 Northern Ireland High Performance Computing Centre to support data analytics reflects the institution's joint strength with Ulster University in data analytics, which in terms of research power was ranked by the Alan Turing Institute as 6th in the UK.
The Schools of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Chemistry and Chemical Engineering hold Silver SWAN awards.
This achievement represents one of the strongest engineering returns in the UK. This Award requires all staff to complete an e-learning equality and diversity training programme (“Think difference, Act differently”).
Since 2018, we have led the EPSRC-funded SENSE Network partnership on ‘Inclusion Matters’ with the universities of Warwick and Glasgow. The mission is to improve Schools through connecting people to support collegiality, equality and inclusion, understand the attitudes of academics towards gender equality initiatives and build training tools aimed at improving their perception in engineering and physical sciences.
Queen’s is a key partner in the Belfast Region City Deal, a £1 billion investment, brining regional government, industry and universities together to develop Northern Ireland’s economy and society. We are leading two of the five projects, namely the creation of a Global Innovation Institute (GII) and an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC).
GII is a £53.4m project which aims to catalyse digital innovation in key sectors within the Belfast region through creating challenge-led solutions for the data-driven economy; and by providing domain-specific expertise across the One Health spectrum.
AMIC, a £87M project, will be the springboard for innovation in manufacturing in Northern Ireland, primarily focused on working with companies based in advanced manufacturing and materials engineering.
These activities will drive digital innovation and sector growth, supporting Northern Ireland businesses, and create a transformational £190m proposition for new R&D facilities in AI and data analytics.
Infrastructure for a changing environment: Major research will be undertaken with the aim to develop smart and resilient natural and built infrastructure solutions for our changing environment in order to drastically reduce carbon emissions, whilst also adapting to extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Solutions explored will be in advanced low carbon materials, full implementation of the circular economy, effective restoration of peatlands and the development of clean marine renewables.
Creating a productive and resilient society: Resilience will be ensured by the transition to low-carbon heat and by developing future transport solutions. The activities will build upon the research and development strengths of the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre, the Northern Ireland Technology Centre, the Polymer Processing Research Centre, the William Wright Technology Centre, the Queen’s University Ionic Liquids Laboratory and associated Pioneer Research Programmes.
Improved health: In healthcare, we will continue to build on our strong interdisciplinary ties to devise innovative healthcare solutions, such as with the School of Pharmacy through MATCH and on the responsive work to Covid such as the software development in the successful rollout of track and trace and the asymptomatic testing in Northern Ireland. We will enhance this activity through the Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland, established to drive and support ambitious growth in Northern Ireland’s Life & Health Sciences sector.
Professor Máire O’Neill is a leading cybersecurity expert. She is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading cryptography experts and the inventor of a high-speed silicon security chip that is used in more than 100 million TV set-top boxes.
Professor Chen's research interests are mainly focussed on polymers and polymer nanocomposites, aiming to gain a sound scientific understanding of the formation and reinforcement/toughening mechanisms in polymer nanocomposites.
Research has focused on connectivity and cybersecurity, data analytics, clean energy; advanced manufacturing, data analytics; smart, sustainable and resilient infrastructure.
Our focus is on advanced manufacturing, working with composites and polymers and driving the technology around the production of clean energy.
The School of Natural and Built Environment's research focuses on smart, sustainable and resilient infrastructure; data analytics; advanced composites and polymers and clean energy.