About the Engineering Research Institute

We are the leading materials research institute in Northern Ireland with 100% of our research impact world or internationally leading.

This Research Institute is one of a small number of very high priority research areas identified as such by Ulster University.

Over a number of years it has had a strong profile in research into structural and advanced functional materials.

In particular the Institute has focused on the development of nanotechnology, clean technology, tissue engineering, composites, metal forming and connected health technologies.

ERI has brought together a 120 strong multi-disciplinary group of staff from a range of disciplines to undertake various forms of advanced materials research, including such topics as:

  • aerospace composites
  • materials characterisation
  • sensors
  • biomaterials
  • plasma processing
  • metal forming
  • nanoscience
  • tissue engineering
  • nanofabrication

These topics are consolidated under two centres namely:

Strong International collaborations with India, Taiwan, Japan, USA and key EU countries (ROI, France and Germany) have been developed and large infrastructural and project funding totalling over £30M since 2001 has been a highlight of this rapidly growing research area.

Technology transfer is also a key objective and the discipline is one of Northern Ireland's leaders in intellectual property exploitation with 5 spin-outs (Intelesens, Heartsine, Heartscape, Axis Composites and Lenis air) and 1 spin-in (SiSaF).

The overall objective of the Institute is to investigate the structure-function relationships of, and the interactions between materials, processes and performance in support of the economic and social development of science, engineering, industry and technology transfer.

Also of note are the strong links with industry (Bombardier, Seagate, Medtronics, Rolls Royce, Intel, Bosch etc.) which are highlighted via large ERI led consortiums such as NIACE (Bombardier, UU & QUB et al.), NICAM, CACR and NanotecNI.


REF2014 results show Engineering at Ulster is in the top 20 within the UK and the leading materials research institute in Northern Ireland.  100% of our research impact is world or internationally leading and we are in the top UK quartile across all research topics.

We have grown our research quality at world lead and international level by over 50%. Overall, this is a significant improvement in our performance since the last assessment and a credit to a small but growing research institute established less than 25 years ago.

The Assessment Panel for this highly competitive and economically important discipline were looking at scientific discovery, engineering innovation and research impact among the strongest academic institutions in the UK.

The outcome for Ulster is a reward for the strategic focus in nanotechnology, bioengineering, composites and advanced materials research and provides a strong foundation for future growth of the young and dynamic Engineering Research Institute.

Areas of interest

Over the last 10 years CSRI has more than doubled in academic and research staff, in the number of PhD students graduating annually, and in the volume of highly competitive external research funding that we attract.