Technology and Innovation Centres: Northern Ireland

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 12th July 2016.

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Photo of Tom Elliott Tom Elliott UUP, Fermanagh and South Tyrone

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to ensure Northern Ireland benefits from the Catapult programme.

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Minister of State (Universities and Science)

The Government is continuing to develop the Catapult network and has prioritised core funding support for the Catapult network in the 2015 Spending Review.

Northern Ireland (NI) is already benefitting from the Catapult Programme. The Digital Catapult has established local centres in Northern Ireland. It has just appointed a lead for its NI centres and is expecting the projects and activity to take shape and start in the coming months. The Precision Medicine Catapult will also be supported by a Centre of Excellence in Belfast.

A number of other Catapults also have strong links with business and academia in Northern Ireland. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult worked with a team at Queens University Belfast to define the path to commercialisation for a therapy to help treat retinal vein occlusion, a common cause of visual impairment and blindness affecting around 16.4 million people across the US, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE) is a partner in the composites network with the National Composites Centre (NCC) of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult is also working with four industrial partners, including Bombardier Aerospace in Northern Ireland, on the VIEWS (Validation and Integration of Manufacturing Enablers for Future Wing Structures) Programme to bring promising wing design, manufacture and assembly technologies near to market readiness.

The Future Cities Catapult has been working closely with the City of Belfast to harness new technologies and help to fulfil their smart city ambitions and provide better services to its citizens by inviting SMEs to meet the challenge of increasing revenue from business rates across the city.

The Satellite Applications Catapult has a Knowledge Exchange Fellow based in Northern Ireland. This Fellowship, alongside funding from Invest Northern Ireland, is assisting an agricultural solutions business based in Northern Ireland to enhance its services through the utilisation of GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) technology.

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