Competence Centres are transforming great ideas into global commercial success

Competence Centres promote economic growth by bringing together universities, research institutes and innovative businesses to carry out strategic collaborative research in areas with a direct industrial focus.

They offer companies an opportunity to develop new products, processes and services and bring them more quickly to global markets, as well as giving local businesses access to leading edge solutions and skills.

Invest NI is providing £20 million in funding over five years to four local industry-led Competence Centres which are helping to turn great ideas into commercial realities.

Membership of a Competence Centre is open to any company, both Northern Ireland based and international, that wants to collaborate in applied research relevant to them at a reduced cost. Companies will benefit by sharing risk, gaining knowledge and skills, and accessing commercially relevant technological advances.

Northern Ireland Competence Centres

There are four Competence Centres operating in the following areas where Northern Ireland has significant strengths: connected health, sustainable energy, advanced engineering and agri-food.

The Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) is delivering research in areas such as remote monitoring, healthcare analytics, point of care diagnostic and integrated community care. Watch a video about CHIC.

The Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) focuses on developing highly innovative technologies for the sustainable energy sector. The Centre supports companies to compete in the global sustainable energy market by funding industry-led research in energy systems, turbines and energy from biomass.

The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE) is a technology hub for the research and development of advanced engineering and advanced materials technologies. NIACE supports companies and researchers to work together to deliver market-focussed projects that generate benefits for industry. Watch a video on its work here.

Recently opened, Agri-Food QUEST focuses on improving the international competitive position of the Northern Ireland Agri-food sector through innovation and co-operative research. This will include research into packaging, shelf-life, waste minimisation and food security. The first call for research proposals is open now.

Success story

“The partnership with CHIC has complemented our market knowledge with technical and scientific insights which has created an attractive market proposition which we are investigating with our customers in North America and other world markets.” Irwin Armstrong, Chief Executive CIGA

In the connected health sector three companies CIGA Healthcare, CMASS and Atto Partners worked together with the CHIC research team to create rapid diagnostics for consumer use. The CHIC researchers provided expertise in device creation, medical sensors and clinical chemistry while CIGA guided the overall solution design through in depth market knowledge and insight. CMASS provided knowledge on manufacturing processes and Atto offered a perspective on digital user engagement. The project produced working demonstrators of sufficient quality to allow the companies to present the products to potential customers and investors.

If you would like to get involved or find out more call us on 0800 181 4422 or contact us via the online form. Alternatively you can get in touch with the Competence Centres directly.