Innovation City Belfast makes two key appointments

  • Innovation City Belfast has made two key new appointments, Digital Innovation Commissioner and Innovation District Director, ahead of an important Northern Ireland Office showcase event in London on September 15.

    Professor Mark Gillan takes up the post of Digital Innovation Commissioner and Clare Guinness, takes the role of Innovation District Director.

    Commenting on the appointments, Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, Belfast City Council and Chair, Innovation City Belfast, said: “As a partnership, we’re absolutely focused on making Belfast a globally significant destination for innovation, driving inclusive growth by creating more and better jobs and improving quality of life through innovation. That vision will be underpinned by £350m investment secured through the Belfast Region City Deal.”

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    Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer, Belfast Harbour and ICB Board Member added: “We have prestigious Grade A office accommodation nearing completion at City Quays 3 and Olympic House, the latter in conjunction with Titanic Quarter, which will accommodate growing indigenous businesses and new market entrants. The impressive new Ulster University campus will also soon be welcoming 15,000 students and staff into the heart of the Innovation District at York Street. Belfast City Council is recruiting a City Innovation Broker to support an investment model for advanced wireless networks in the city, and ICB is successfully rolling out the re/Start free training programme with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help unemployed and underemployed people start careers in cloud computing and boost the talent pipeline that’s crucial for business growth.”

    A Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Royal Aero Society, Visiting Professor of both Surrey and Ulster Universities and NI Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Professor Gillan started his career in aerospace before spending 15 years in various Formula One engineering leadership roles.  

    Most recently Chief Operations Officer for Artemis Technologies, leading the decarbonisation of the maritime sector and Programme Director for the Belfast Maritime Consortium’s UKRI funded Strength in Places Programme, focused on developing zero emissions passenger ferries; Professor Gillan also brings experience gained as Innovate UK’s Chief Technology Officer.

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    Clare Guinness, finance graduate and Institute of Directors Fellow, brings a wealth of finance and investment, management, real estate and infrastructure experience gained in Corporate and Business Banking with Bank of Ireland, as Director of Corporate Services, Fane Valley Group, Chief Executive Officer of Warrenpoint Harbour and most recently, Chief Operating Officer of a London based property regeneration company. 

    Clare will be leading the establishment of a major Innovation District from Queen’s Island to York Street which will leverage digital, intellectual and real estate assets to attract capital and investment to grow the NI economy.

    The ICB partnership combines six of the city’s anchor institutions (Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Catalyst, Queen’s University and Ulster University, with Invest NI as advisory partner), harnessing significant knowledge, resources and influence to create a world-class hub for research and innovation in Belfast, focused on FinTech, GreenTech and Life and Health Sciences, aligned to the government’s ‘10X Economy, A Decade of Innovation’ vision.

    For more information on Innovation City Belfast, go to:

    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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