Seagate creates 95 R&D jobs in Northern Ireland

29 Jan 2010

Hard-disk maker Seagate Technology has announced 95 new jobs in Derry and Belfast as part of a major stg£60-million investment.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered stg£12.7 million support towards the total cost of the investments, which are expected to increase R&D-related jobs there by 85 and to create a further 10 related research posts at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Welcoming Steve Luczo, chairman, CEO and president of Seagate Technology and Bob Whitmore, executive vice-president and chief technology officer, to the Springtown site, NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Encouraging innovation and boosting business research and development are hugely important to our economic future and will be key drivers in helping us deliver the productivity goal contained in the Programme for Government.

“Securing highly credible investors and developing value-added supply chain opportunities through collaborative research was one of the key recommendations I brought to the Assembly on Monday in taking forward the findings of the Independent Review of Economic Policy.

“The investments being announced today are excellent examples of that policy in practice, in particular the close collaboration which is envisaged between the company and Queen’s University, which will see a new research facility being established at the Department of Physics.

“We expect to announce more of the detail of this in the coming months but today I can confirm that the capabilities that will be developed through this collaboration will enable our wider industrial base to benefit from Seagate’s leading surface science and advanced materials technology.”

The research will reveal commercial opportunities across a wide range of industrial sectors and applications, including areas such as advanced composites, medical sensors, security devices and ICT.

“One of the greatest values of collaboration is the potential for entirely new opportunities to arise as a consequence of cross-fertilisation. This is what we hope to see as Seagate and QUB bring their collective intellects to bear in exploring new ideas and concepts with a view to commercial realisation and exploitation.”

The Minister added: “This was a mobile investment which could easily have gone elsewhere within the Seagate corporation, but for the strong case made by local management and the support offered by Invest NI.

“In making these investments in the North West, Seagate is once again demonstrating its confidence in our local workforce and suppliers and is helping send a very strong signal to other potential international investors that the North West is a competitive and compelling location,” Foster said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years