Invest NI Encourages Engineering Sector to Grow Through Innovation

Jun 27, 2007

Invest Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, held an event today to identify how the engineering sector can harness and exploit knowledge and innovation for commercial benefit.

The Engineering for Business Growth seminar explored relationships between industry and academic institutions in Northern Ireland. Representatives from Queen’s University and the University of Ulster facilitated workshops at the seminar.

Speaking at the event, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “In today’s global business environment it is vital that Northern Ireland’s engineering companies keep looking for the next solution that will satisfy their customers' increasing demand for value added.  A key resource in achieving this will be the local universities. The transfer of knowledge in both directions will improve innovation in engineering and help us to continue to develop and grow a world class engineering sector here, ultimately leading to a wealthier economy.”

At the event, case studies were presented, showing successful examples of cooperation between industry and academia. Delegates also formed working groups to discuss collaborative working between engineering companies and universities. Leading sources of engineering knowledge were outlined throughout the debates, and ways to overcome the barriers to knowledge transfer were explored.

Philip Greenish, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The engineering sector can benefit greatly from the expertise that exists in NI universities. This seminar is part of a series hosted around the UK to encourage and support collaboration between engineering businesses and the academic knowledge base. We intend to compile a report on findings from these events, in order to ensure that the lessons learned can contribute to best practice in the future.”

The seminar will be followed with a Royal Academy of Engineering Soiree and exhibition, hosted by Queen’s University this evening. The theme of the exhibition will be Wealth Creation Through Partnerships, and it will showcase the leading edge research currently being carried out at Queen’s University.

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