Technology Experts from Northern Ireland on U.S. Mission

Research pioneers from Queen's University, Belfast (QUB), and the University of Ulster (UU) are taking part in an Invest Northern Ireland technology mission to the world's biggest nanotechnology conference in Boston from 7-11 March.

Research pioneers from Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB), and the University of Ulster (UU) are taking part in an Invest Northern Ireland technology mission to the world’s biggest nanotechnology conference in Boston from 7-11 March.

The team is led by Prof Robert Brown, Director of Nanotec NI, a Centre of Excellence formed by UU and QUB, and five nanotechnology experts from the two universities. Nanotechnology, which covers a wide range of research work, can best be described as engineering on a very small scale and is set to revolutionise virtually every aspect of industry and society, from sharper razor blades to unimaginably powerful computers and immeasurably more effective medical treatments.

The mission is organised by Invest NI’s Innovation, Research and Technology division and is designed to assist the two universities to strengthen international technology links.

In addition to attending the conference, meetings have been arranged for the team with eminent scientists and leading researchers at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Boston University and the University of Massachusetts.

Tracy Meharg, Invest NI managing director for Innovation and Capability Development Services, said: “Our two universities are working closely together and with industry on research projects with potentially very exciting commercial applications. As part of our strategic focus on innovation we are assisting the universities to harness the enormous potential of this research for the benefit of the local economy.

“The visit to Boston will enable us to both demonstrate the expertise that exists in Northern Ireland in nanotechnology and to facilitate knowledge transfer between our research teams and those from the US and further afield. By helping to link Northern Ireland’s top academic researchers with research centres around the world, Invest NI aims to increase global awareness of our capabilities. It positions Northern Ireland as a dynamic, technologically advanced and globally focused region,” she added.

Prof Brown, commenting on the mission, said: “Across both universities there are over 150 researchers engaged in work at the cutting edge of this rapidly developing range of technologies and making a significant contribution to the global knowledge base.

“Nanotec NI was formed to further stimulate the region’s industrial and academic involvement in this sector and to provide a structure for commercialising important work from the development of a critical mass of expertise that covers the key disciplines of physics, engineering and biomolecular sciences,” he added.

The Northern Ireland team includes Prof Jim McLaughlin and Dr Brian Meenan, both UU-based, and QUB’s Dr Robert Bowman, Dr Bob Pollard and Dr Tony McNally.