The first Belfast Region City Deal Council Panel meeting following the signing of the ‘Deal’ on December 15 2021 was hosted by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Representatives of the six Councils came together with University partners to focus on priorities for the implementation phase of the Deal.
The Panel was updated on plans for delivering AMIC, an ambitious £98m Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, incorporating the ‘factory of the future’, which is to be built in Newtownabbey, at Global Point Business Park.
Chairing the panel meeting, Alderman Mark Cosgrove, said: “Thanks to an unprecedented level of partnership working between local government, the NI Executive, the UK government, our universities, further education colleges and private sector, we’ve secured £1 billion of investment for the region through the Belfast Region City Deal – meaning a decade of opportunities starts now.
“The sustained collective efforts of everyone involved in the Deal has produced a portfolio of projects which will transform the Belfast region and indeed Northern Ireland as a whole. Our focus has now shifted from drafting business cases to developing designs and making planning applications as we move another step closer to making our vision a reality- creating new and better jobs and opportunities for people living here.”
Led by Queen’s University, AMIC will provide a new, 10,500m2 state-of-the-art facility at Global Point, giving advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses access to the very latest technology, specialist equipment and expertise.
The ‘Factory of the Future’ will be AMIC’s flagship facility and become NI’s national centre for advanced manufacturing, significantly accelerating levels of innovation and collaboration between industry and researchers.
Occupying a site adjacent to the well-established RLC facility at Global Point, AMIC will also be joined by Sensata Technologies and Ardagh, both set to make multi-million-pound investments on the site - creating an industrial and research and development hub in the borough.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council will be making a significant contribution of £10 million to the scheme which is expected to deliver over 1,000 jobs both direct and indirect over the life of the scheme as well as generating substantial opportunities for the supply chain across NI.
Professor Paul Maropoulos director of AMIC, addressed the Council Panel and explained the importance of AMIC to the future of Advanced Manufacturing in NI.
He explained: “AMIC and the new factory of the future will have both the capacity and scale to define and deliver high quality, industry-focused research projects that can meet the demands of our Advanced Manufacturing sectors, and will be central to driving innovation across industry, within Northern Ireland and beyond.
“Working in close partnership with industry we will develop a range of core capabilities, supported by a team of professional engineers with access to advanced digital technologies and specialist equipment. AMIC will be underpinned by experts from both Universities and we will be paying special attention to skills development in new generation digital and production technologies. Everyone in the AMIC team is excited to be working closely with all stakeholders to deliver this ground-breaking centre that will have a lasting positive impact on the City Deal’s six Council areas and NI as a whole.”
The team appointed by Queen’s University has advanced the preparatory design work to the stage where it is now ready to commence pre-application discussions with the Council’s Planning Team. It is anticipated that the full planning application will be submitted in September 2022 with construction anticipated to commence on site in October 2023.
For more information about AMIC and Queen’s new Innovation Centres, you can visit qub.ac.uk/about/belfast-region-city-deal/
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.