Innovation is crucial for Northern Ireland’s economic recovery and to our future success locally and globally.
That was the key message from Economy Minister Diane Dodds after she began a series of meeting with senior leaders from partner companies in the Belfast City Region Deal.
The Minister’s first meeting focussed on the progress of two separate innovations centres under development in Northern Ireland. She met with Humain Ltd and Halon Entertainment which are involved in the £64million Screen and Media Innovation Lab (SMIL) which will see state-of-the-art virtual production facilities at the new Belfast Harbour Commission studio facilities at Giants Park.
And she also met Denroy Plastics Ltd and Artemis Technologies Ltd which are co-operating in the £98million Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) project which will see the construction of a new world class Factory of the Future at Newtownabbey.
The Minister said: “Strengthening the link between economic growth and innovation in key sectors of our economy will support our recovery. It was useful to meet with these forward-thinking companies, which work closely with Queens University and Ulster University, to hear about the progress they are making in the development of these innovation centres.
“Through the Belfast Region City Deal, these exciting projects will benefit from investment of over £250m and will focus on life and health sciences, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and creative industries. These centres will build on Northern Ireland’s industrial strengths and excellent research capabilities and will support many more local companies to compete successfully in global markets, creating new and better-paid jobs and opportunities for future generations.
“Projects such as these drive progress and support economic growth. Northern Ireland’s reputation for innovation is one of which we can be very proud. We need to capitalise on this – and on our highly-skilled workforce – to support recovery and to create jobs and wealth.”
The Belfast City Region Deal will deliver up to £1billion investment by the Northern Ireland Executive, UK Government, universities, local authorities and the private sector over the next 15 years.