Halo director elected VP of European engineering body

16 Apr 2012

Alan Watts, director of Halo Northern Ireland, who has been elected vice-president of the IET for a three-year term

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has elected Alan Watts, director of the Northern Ireland business angel network Halo, to serve a three-year term as its vice-president.

In Europe, the IET is the professional body for engineers from many disciplines, including electrical, software and communications.

Governments consult the IET for advice on areas such electricity supply and continuity.

The IET traces its lineage back to the Michael Faraday, the scientist, chemist and physicist whose experimental work directly led to the creation of the modern electric motor, generator and transformer. In the electricity field, Faraday made one of his greatest discoveries – electromagnetic induction – in 1831 using his induction ring.

It was four years before Faraday’s death in 1861 that the IET was founded. Faraday’s scientific work is credited for having laid the foundations of all subsequent electro-technology.

Michael Faraday (1791-1861). As a chemist Faraday discovered Benzene. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Michael Faraday (1791-1861). As a chemist Faraday discovered Benzene. Image by Wikimedia Commons

In Northern Ireland, the IET has an engineering policy group specifically to work with Stormont.

As for Halo Northern Ireland, which Watts heads up from the Northern Ireland Science Park, it recently raised €1m (stg£850,000) in the completion of eight deals.

Speaking today, Watts said it was a ” very humbling experience” to be up for election to the IET.

“Now that I’ve been successful, I hope to bring a Northern Ireland aspect to the IET along with the perspective of exciting smaller companies – with whom we work every day in the Science Park,” he said.

Halo is advising entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland about the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) that has come into force this month. The scheme will offer individual investors 50pc up-front tax relief, as well as the ability to roll capital gains into the Seed EIS for the first year.

Watts, himself a former entrepreneur and business angel, spoke recently about how the tax incentives offered by the scheme could potentially reach stg£18m per year in investments for local start-ups in the North.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic