Northern Ireland college secures €5.8m for renewables project

13 Apr 2017

Image: Malgorzata Smigielska/Shutterstock

A ‘renewable engine’ project is underway at Northern Ireland’s South West College thanks to a bumper funding allowance from the SEUPB.

It is hoped that a cluster of research and innovation SMEs will be developed on the back of a new South West College project.

Armed with €5.8m in Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) funding, the ‘renewable engine’ project is a four-year initiative.

The aim is to increase the commercialisation of new products and processes within the renewable energy sector.

Renewables cluster

The programme is also being supported by government both sides of the border, and will facilitate state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment to help build businesses.

“The region as a whole is adversely affected by low levels of research and innovation within certain business sectors,” said Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB.

“The ‘renewable engine’ project will help to address this through the creation of a new cross-border collaborative partnership that will generate industry-relevant research.

“This research will prove invaluable for businesses working within the renewable energy sector in terms of increasing both their competitiveness and profitability.

“It will also help to deliver upon one of the core aims of the EU’s Interreg VA Programme.”


Project partners involved in the creation of the businesses include Queen’s University Belfast, Institute of Technology Sligo, University of Strathclyde, Manufacturing NI, Action Renewables and Mid Ulster Council.

“This research on renewable energy and advanced manufacturing will be very worthwhile in a time of fast-changing technologies and competitive pressures for business,” said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD.

The programme aims to generate mounds of research developed at PhD level and above, and the research will hopefully lead to commercial advantage for the participating businesses.

“This project will not only enhance innovation and competitiveness, but is also an excellent example of collaboration between business,” added a spokesperson for Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy, “particularly those in the advanced manufacturing and renewable energy fields, and the further and higher education sectors.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic