SAP to establish R&D
centre in Belfast


8 Feb 2006

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Enterprise software giant SAP is to establish a research and development (R&D) centre in Belfast as part of a €2.6m investment. The centre will carry out cutting-edge research in the emerging field of grid computing.

It is understood Invest Northern Ireland has offered a package of €1.3m towards the total project costs of €2.6m under its Start Programme, which increases the amount of industrial research undertaken by companies either on their own or in partnership with universities.

SAP is the world’s leading provider of business software solutions and employs 30,000 people in more than 50 countries and has a turnover of more than US$7bn. The company employs 500 people at its Galway operations.

Grid computing is the linking of computers, data and application software to provide computing power that far exceeds what is available on a single PC.

“Our aim is to strengthen SAP’s leadership in the area of IT innovation,” said Wolfgang Gerteis, director of the SAP Research Campus-based Engineering Centre (CEC) in Belfast.

“In the Belfast CEC, we will be focusing on grid computing and are looking forward to working with the local universities to make significant advances in this area,” Gerteis explained.

Belfast offers a wealth of expertise in grid computing, particularly through the University of Ulster and Queen’s University, the latter of which is a leader in grid computing research worldwide.

Jeremy Fitch, managing director of Business International at Invest Northern Ireland, commented: “The project is highly innovative and the knowledge developed in Belfast will put Northern Ireland in a very strong position to attract similar foreign ICT investments.

“One of Invest Northern Ireland’s goals is to build on the world-class research in our universities by attracting inward investment from world-class technology companies such as SAP,” Fitch added. “In addition, we aim to support the development of higher value-added products. This investment will create significant academic-industrial linkages and help to commercialise academic knowledge.”

By John Kennedy