Queen’s announces new partnership with Aston University in boost to NI’s innovation ecosystem

  • Queen’s is partnering with Birmingham-based Aston University in a bid to solidify and deepen both university’s roles as catalysts within their respective innovation areas. 

    Contributing £3bn per annum to the NI economy, and already having invested in and committed to three City Deal innovation centres, Queen’s University Belfast is keen to build on the momentum growing from the recent NI Investment Summit and US Trade Delegation with the announcement of this new partnership. 

    The signing of the MoU will be an opportunity to combine Queen’s and Aston’s accelerative power and allow the universities to collaborate with shared ambition on ideas, projects, funding and investment propositions, fostering cross-regional collaboration based on the complementary strengths of both universities. 

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    The common areas of interest for the partnership and the innovation ecosystems within which Queen’s and Aston are embedded, include: 

    ·        Research translation into real-world problems and contexts for impact; 

    ·        Development of innovation capability clearly linked to business needs; 

    ·        Growing of entrepreneurship and new businesses; 

    ·        Initiatives for skills and employability;  

    ·        Engaging with local communities.  

    Signing the Memorandum of Understanding at the Global Innovation Summit in London, President and Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s, Professor Sir Ian Greer, said: “This partnership brings together two universities central to innovation in the cities of Belfast and Birmingham and their surrounding regions, that share a strong sense of civic duty and both work to maximise the positive socioeconomic impact that they can contribute by fostering inclusive innovation. 

    “At Queen’s, we are clear that collective ambition and deep collaboration are vital if we are to fully harvest the economic potential of the Good Friday Agreement after 25 years of relative peace, while recognising collaboration needs to extend to partners outside of Northern Ireland. 

    “Our partnership with Aston University not only will contribute to building the investment brand and value proposition of Northern Ireland but will help both university’s innovation partners collaborate with one another to solve complex problems in society while generating economic value in both cities.” 

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    The fields of interest for the MoU includes Net Zero and clean forms of energy such as biofuels, as well as life and health sciences in terms of disease prevention, early diagnosis and impact mitigation - including through the use of AI, and digital tech which will drive the future of many industries such as advanced manufacturing and professional services. 

    Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University, said: “Aston University is establishing, with partners, a world-class innovation district – the new Birmingham Innovation Quarter (B-IQ), to evolve as an innovation ecosystem focused on science, technology and enterprise.  

    “I am delighted to be partnering with an exceptional university, Queen’s University Belfast, to multiply the impact of our excellent work in both cities and innovation districts and drive socio-economic transformation and inclusive growth.” 

    Source: Written from press release 

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