Dodds opens £20 million research centre at Magee

The work at the new £20 million Research Centre at Magee campus can play an important role in Northern Ireland’s global competitiveness.

That was the message from the new Economy Minister Nigel Dodds, when he opened the Intelligent Systems Research Centre, (ISRC) at the Magee campus, of the University of Ulster, today.

The Research Centre will make a major contribution to international research in the area of computational intelligence and bio-inspired computing. It will be led by Professor Martin McGinnity, an internationally recognised academic and research leader.

Speaking at the opening the Minister said: “Located in the North West, this Centre has the potential to create economic regeneration and provide an essential hub for advanced research and innovation, highlighting Northern Ireland’s internationally focused knowledge infrastructure.

“The research carried here could help attract further investment by globally recognised companies seeking to tap into our growing knowledge base. In addition, there is the potential for new spin out companies to be created and the ISRC can encourage local businesses to embrace the concept of innovation and how it can make them more competitive.

“Technological advancement occurs at a rapid pace and Northern Ireland must continue to develop the skills and the infrastructure to exploit knowledge and innovation for commercial gain. The Intelligent Systems Research Centre can help us in our drive to achieve that.”

Bill Kirk, Chief Executive of Ilex, the coordinating body for the Integrated Development Fund in the North West area, said: "The promotion of innovation, R&D, the acquisition of knowledge and technology transfer in varying forms are central to the Ilex Regeneration Plan and seen as one of a number of key solutions to addressing Derry's economic problems. The Plan presents a vision of a competitive, confident city at the heart of an innovating region, a University city, a city of learning and applied science and technology. In the final analysis, this project will go a considerable way to making that vision a reality."

The University of Ulster’s Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett added: “Our ambition is to enhance the University of Ulster’s existing global reputation for research excellence. The Intelligent Systems Research Centre, under the expert direction of Professor Martin McGinnity, can now establish a critical mass of skilled people and grow a research unit which will create a powerful stream of economic benefits.”

Invest Northern Ireland has offered the university £7.2 million of funding through its Centres of Excellence Programme in partnership with the Integrated Development Fund (IDF). Ilex, the urban regeneration company for Derry ~ Londonderry is the co-ordinating body for the Integrated Development Fund. The investment will enable the research centre to expand to approximately 100 researchers including high-level R&D posts.