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Today marked the relaunch of the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE), which is integral to the 10x Economy Plan for Northern Ireland.

NIACE is the regional Centre of Excellence for innovative composites manufacturing Research and Technology and is delivered by a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and the National Composites Centre. NIACE is supported by Invest Northern Ireland, Spirit AeroSystems, BEIS and industrial members.

During the event to re-launch the Centre, an MOU was signed between Queen’s University, Ulster University and the Royal Academy of Engineering in relation to collaboration in innovation and enterprise.

NIACE is entering a new phase with additional investment and new partnerships with key national organisations.

Professor Paul Maropoulos from Queen’s University is leading the relaunch of NIACE. He commented:

“NIACE is entering a truly exciting new phase in its development, with a team of core staff recruited to give the Centre the capability to deliver innovation R&D projects tailored to the needs of our manufacturing companies.

“I am especially pleased that NIACE is supported by a new partnership that includes both Northern Ireland Universities and the National Composites Centre. This gives NIACE access to the UK-wide High Value Manufacturing Catapult network. The Centre is also committed to working with the Royal Academy of Engineering to support its new Enterprise Hub in Northern Ireland.”

Professor Liam Maguire of Ulster University commented:

“We are proud to partner with colleagues in Queen's, the National Composites Centre and local industry as NIACE drives innovation in manufacturing in Northern Ireland. Our new memorandum of understanding with the Royal Academy of Engineering and QUB marks our commitment to collaboration in innovation and enterprise to meet the growing needs of our local manufacturing companies."

The 10x Economy Plan highlights that manufacturing is critical to Northern Ireland’s economic future and that accelerating City and Growth Deals is central to post Covid recovery.

The Belfast Regional City Deal project, Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC), will bring together partners, expertise and significant new investment. Existing facilities, including NIACE, will be central to driving innovation across manufacturing businesses within Northern Ireland and beyond.

Professor Alistair McIlhagger, School of Engineering, Ulster University added:

“Our research and development through NIACE has resulted in significant impact to industry. This will continue with our partners, providing an innovation pipeline and  with a new focus on addressing real-world challenges collaboratively and in the development of associated skills allowing industry to grow and develop their capabilities to compete successfully on both a national and global scale.”