Secretary of State Vince Cable and DETI Minister Arlene Foster have officially opened a £6m composites research centre for Northern Ireland
The University of Ulster and QUB co-own and operate the 3,700 sq metre Northern Ireland Advanced Composites & Engineering Centre.
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 with 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.
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.
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.
Speaking for Bombardier, Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said
The NIACE centre is building on a legacy of engineering innovation in Northern Ireland, and we are looking forward to seeing our investment support pioneering collaborative research and development projects, which are vital if we are to develop new technologies and skills in our high value engineering and advanced manufacturing sector. This, in turn, will help Northern Ireland, and in particular our small and medium-sized companies, to move up the value chain, take advantage of new opportunities and compete on a global platform.