Minister opens £2.5m UUJ Innovation Centre

Economy Minister, Ian Pearson has opened a £2.5m Innovation Centre at the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus.

The Technology and Engineering Innovation Centre offers office and laboratory-based space to new start-up companies in the advanced engineering and informatics sectors.

Speaking at the opening, where he was deputising for Employment Minister, Jane Kennedy, Mr Pearson emphasised the importance of translating research findings into commercial realities for the Northern Ireland economy: "The challenge is to ensure that research activity is used to its fullest potential to lay the foundations of future success of wealth.

"The Technology and Engineering Innovation Centre will provide an environment where predominantly new, high technology companies can set up and apply the fruits of the research carried out here at Jordanstown to commercial ends."

The Minister also stressed the great strides had been made over the past year in bringing university research funding in Northern Ireland to a level comparable with the other UK jurisdictions: "Northern Ireland now compares broadly with England, in terms of recurrent funding – the lifeblood of research activity.

"But we need to move further and faster if we are to compete successfully on an international stage. Government has to give its backing to knowledge transfer activities and facilities, such as this Innovation Centre I am opening today. We need as well to develop more research-focussed centres of excellence, such as those brought into operation under the Support Programme for University Research, as they are important for our future," he added.

The Department of Learning has provided £1.6 million in capital funds and £500,000 through the RTD (Research and Technology Development) Centres of Excellence programme towards the total project.

The Government has also increased recurrent research and postgraduate research funding by £10 million for 2003/04, to a total of some £36 million.


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