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Our vision is to exploit our unique ability to merge the disciplines of technology, engineering and science to create world leading research impacting highly important global challenge areas and promoting healthy and sustainable futures for all citizens.

Engineering Research at Ulster was ranked in the top 20 in the UK for Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials in the last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

Since then we have built on this success and have seen continued growth with an almost 100% increase in academic staff numbers in the past five years.

In the same period over £35 million in externally awarded research income has been secured to support our activity, with an emphasis on infrastructural development.


Our current research activity is conducted in a vibrant, collaborative research environment consisting of a multi-disciplinary group of over 150 researchers (academic, contract researchers and PhD researchers) with expertise in:

  • Aerospace composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Healthcare technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials characterisation
  • AI and machine learning for engineering applications
  • Nanotechnology
  • Photocatalysis
  • Plasma science and engineering
  • Tissue engineering

These topics are consolidated under two centres, namely:

Research Environment

Our research environment has allowed us to establish a track record of delivering world class research in terms of quality and impact.

This is evidenced in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) where 100% of our research impact was deemed to be world leading and internationally excellent.

A key driver in this is the prioritisation of knowledge transfer activity in our work. This is achieved through licensing, spin-out company formation, support for existing industry, and through incubation and nurturing of innovation acumen.


From computational modelling, through to production and characterisation of nanomaterials, microsensors and large composite structures, School of Engineering facilities and technical assistance support our researchers in conducting world-leading research. Our facilities include a broad range of managed open-access equipment that include dedicated suites for advanced materials characterisation (including TEM), rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing, microelectronics, composites (3D-woven materials), and both tissue engineering and microbiology laboratories.

Our success has relied on strong international academic collaborations with India, Taiwan, Japan, the USA and the EU as well as key industrial partnerships with industry leaders such as Bombardier, AVX, Seagate, GE and Stryker.