Science in Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Assembly was established in 1998. There is no separate science policy for Northern Ireland, but science and innovation remain of key importance for the economic growth of the country. Research is strong in the areas of biomedical sciences, nanotechnology, sensors, forensic science, astronomy, electronics and engineering.
The Research Institutes and Centres of Excellence at Northern Ireland’s Queen’s University, Belfast, and the University of Ulster are staffed by high calibre doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and technical support staff. As well as ‘blue skies’ research, the two universities focus on strategic and industrial-related work. Queen’s University has recently invested €60 million to create the world-class Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT). The University of Ulster has also invested £20 million in an Intelligent Systems Research Centre.
Queen’s University Belfast is a member of the elite Russell Group of UK universities, thereby joining an association of 19 major research-intensive universities which include the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Edinburgh and University College London.
Academia – Industry collaboration
Invest Northern Ireland is the region’s economic development agency, which strongly supports innovation and encourages businesses to invest in research and development. Amongst other things, it runs programmes for industrial research, knowledge transfer, technology collaboration and support for research infrastructure with a view to commercialisation. There is thus a lot of help available for researchers and organisations who wish to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace.
The life sciences, communications, software, and manufacturing industries are key business sectors which invest in research and development.
The Northern Ireland Science Park
The UK Government’s commitment to innovation in Northern Ireland was shown by the opening of the Northern Ireland Science Park in 2006, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. This world-class science park in Belfast houses a community of knowledge-based enterprises, from small start-ups to established companies.
Universities and Research Centres in Northern Ireland
University of Ulster (Four locations)
Other useful websites