Update on £98m ‘factory of the future’ in Newtownabbey

Belfast Region City Deal Council Panel updated on plans for delivery of £98m Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Newtownabbey

By Claire Cartmill
Sunday, 6th March 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Monday, 7th March 2022, 8:22 am
Alderman Mark Cosgrove with Professor Paul Maropolos, director Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre and Michael McKenna, Strategic Investment manager reviewing the plans for AMIC at Global Point
Alderman Mark Cosgrove with Professor Paul Maropolos, director Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre and Michael McKenna, Strategic Investment manager reviewing the plans for AMIC at Global Point

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.

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Alderman Mark Cosgrove with Professor Paul Maropolos, director Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre on site at Global Point, Newtownabbey

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.

Alderman Mark Cosgrove with Professor Paul Maropolos, director Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre reviewing plans for AMIC at Global Point.

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/

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