New partnership set to drive industrial transformation in Northern Ireland

  • A new partnership between Queen’s University Belfast and the UK’s High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult is set to reinvigorate Northern Ireland’s industrial potential through the £98m Belfast Region City Deal-funded Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC).

    AMIC’s flagship building, the ‘Factory of the Future’ - a 10,500m2 state-of-the-art facility - will open at Global Point in Newtownabbey in 2025.

    Under the partnership, Sam Turner from HVM Catapult will be seconded to AMIC to drive forward plans to launch the project which will propel industrial transformation and address the future technology and skills challenges faced by the region’s manufacturing sector.

    Established by Innovate UK in 2011, HVM Catapult is a group of research, development and innovation centres transforming UK manufacturing. With cutting-edge facilities worth over £800m, its centres produced over 2,600 commercial projects and worked with more than 5,500 companies in the last year, giving them access to specialist equipment, expertise and collaboration.

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    While local manufacturing businesses will gain vital knowledge from HVM Catapult through the partnership to help drive inclusive economic growth, the organisation’s members will also benefit from access to expertise in areas where Northern Ireland companies are leading the way.

    AMIC is one of three Innovation projects being delivered by Queen’s University Belfast in partnership with government and industry under the Belfast Region City Deal.

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

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    The 12-month secondment of Mr Turner, who is currently Chief Technology Officer at HVM Catapult, builds on the Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration between AMIC and the Catapult, signed in 2020.

    Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Professor Ian Greer said: “Our partnerships with government and industry are key to the success of the Belfast Region City Deal-funded Innovation Centres. The new partnership with HVM Catapult will enable AMIC to link at scale into UK-wide networks, which means that industry in Northern Ireland will have increased access to national expertise, a factor that will be crucial for it to thrive in the next decade. The partnership also gives our businesses a platform to showcase their expertise on a national stage which we hope will lead to many mutually beneficial collaborations.”

    Sam Turner, Chief Technology Officer at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and incoming Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre CEO, added: “There is significant potential to unleash industrial transformation in Northern Ireland and this important investment will ensure that is achieved. This industry-led collaboration drawing upon the excellent academic base through Queen’s and Ulster University will position AMIC as a manufacturing innovation asset for the whole of the UK and beyond.”

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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