Queen’s University has appointed a design team for each of the three centres it will lead on in areas including advanced manufacturing, clinical research, and connected digital technologies.
Arcadis, Faithful & Gould and Turner & Townsend have won the contracts to provide project management and design and construction services for the innovation centres, which should all be operational by 2026.
As part of the Belfast Region City Deal, the UK government and Northern Ireland executive are providing £170m funding towards three Queen’s-led centres:
- the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC)
- the Global Innovation Institute (GII), and
- the Institute of Research Excellence for Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH).
An additional £30m is coming from the university and its partners.
Arcadis has been appointed to work on the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC); Faithful & Gould has secured the contract for the Global Innovation Institute (GII); and Turner & Townsend will carry out work on the Institute of Research Excellence for Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH).
Public consultation for all three projects will take place over the next few months, with planning applications set to be lodged before the end of this year.
The £98m AMIC project, in partnership with Ulster University and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, will provide more facilities for the NI Advanced Composites & Engineering Centre (NIACE) and create a 10,500 sqm facility at Global Point in Newtownabbey, giving advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses access to the latest technology, specialist equipment and expertise. The ‘Factory of the Future’ will be AMIC’s flagship facility and will become Northern Ireland’s national centre for advanced manufacturing, significantly accelerating levels of innovation and collaboration between industry and researchers.
GII, a £58m project, is aiming to transform Northern Ireland’s digital economy by increasing both the volume and range of digital innovation taking place and developing skills to meet industry needs. It will expanding facilities at the Institute of Electronics, Communications & Information Technology (ECIT) in the Titanic Quarter’s Innovation District.
An investment of £52m will be made in iREACH, the Institute of Research Excellence for Advanced Clinical Healthcare, an NHS research facility next to Belfast City Hospital.
“These are the most ambitious building projects we’ve overseen in recent years,” said Queen’s University Belfast director of estates Damien Toner.
Chief operating officer Joanne Clague said: “These projects, which build on areas of our research strength, are key to our local economy as they focus on collaborative university-industry R&D to harness additional investment, create new jobs and accelerate inclusive growth.
“Working in partnership with industry, government and healthcare organisations, the centres will drive momentum in fields including advanced manufacturing, clinical research and secure, connected digital technologies through impact-focussed innovation to create global impact where it truly matters.”