20/04/2004

£4.5m Queen's research centre 'tunes up' for opening

A major new Queen's University research centre which is helping Northern Ireland lead the world in the development of music technology will be officially opened on Wednesday.

The £4.5 million Sonic Arts Research Centre, with a 50-strong research team which unites internationally recognised experts in the fields of music, electronic engineering and computer science, is the only one of its type in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

And its new building in Cloreen Park is also the site of Belfast's newest and most futuristic performance venue - the Sonic Laboratory Concert Hall in which audiences can experience three-dimensional sound. The Centre's opening will be marked by a series of events, including a reception and performance on Wednesday night and the conferment on Thursday of an honorary degree on Professor Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the most influential composers of the last 50 years.

Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain said: "'The Centre' work mirrors the level of global interest in the synergy between technology and creativity. The research councils are now targeting funding to accelerate collaborative research in these areas – areas in which SARC is already an international exemplar.

"The breath-taking speed at which the Centre has consolidated its academic reputation is mirrored by the pace at which its remarkable building has been developed."

The Centre was set up after Queen's won funding for its creation, along with three other projects, under the first phase of Northern Ireland's Support Programme for University Research (SPUR) initiative.

The funding was provided on a matching pound for pound basis with the Government and an American Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, providing up to £20m each.

(MB)

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