Lord Sainsbury sees Nanotechnology in Action at Seagate

Oct 13, 2004

UK Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury, visited the Seagate Technology plant at Springtown, Londonderry, today as part of a day-long look at Northern Ireland's micro and nanotechnology sector.

UK Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury, visited the Seagate Technology plant at Springtown, Londonderry, today as part of a day-long look at Northern Ireland’s micro and nanotechnology sector.

Nanotechnology is the art of engineering at a very small scale. Its application can range from unimaginably powerful computers to much more effective medical treatments. Seagate is already among the UK’s leaders in applying nanotechnology in the development of products for the electronics industry worldwide.

Lord Sainsbury was accompanied on the visit to Seagate by Prof. Fabian Monds, Chairman of Invest Northern Ireland, which is assisting a £90 million investment in innovation by the US-owned company that will further enhance its position as a global technology leader.

Speaking after his visit to Seagate Lord Sainsbury said: “Nanotechnology could lead to many exciting commercial opportunities. The new technology has the potential to create new or dramatically improve many products and processes. Estimates predict a global market in nanotechnology worth over $1trillion in a decade, and it is vital the UK gains a significant share of this.

“I was impressed by Seagate’s application of nanotechnology in the production of advanced products that provide the vast amounts of data storage demanded by the latest digital systems.

“The work I have seen at Seagate, and earlier today at the University of Ulster and Queen’s University, demonstrates that the opportunities presented by nanotechnology are being taken seriously in Northern Ireland.”

Lord Sainsbury was briefed on research projects at the Springtown plant by John Spangler, the managing director, and met members of the R&D team.

He was visiting Northern Ireland on invitation from NIO Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Ian Pearson, MP, who said: “I know from my visits to Seagate Technology that this company is involved in highly innovative and worldclass research. I was therefore keen that Lord Sainsbury, who is spearheading the Government campaign to establish the UK as a world leading nanotechnology centre, should see for himself the quality of research being carried out here and through its very close links with the universities.”

During his intensive one-day trip, Lord Sainsbury also visited the Nanotec Centre and opened the new Engineering Village, both at the University of Ulster, and was briefed on research underway at Queen’s University.

Lord Sainsbury met the Vice Chancellors of both universities, Professor Gerry McKenna and Professor Sir George Bain, and was also shown developments at the Northern Ireland Science Park in the Belfast Harbour estate.

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