€8.5m R&D Investment Targets Advanced Manufacturing Jobs

Added Monday, September 11 2017

Catalyst Inc today launched the North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing – a collaboration bringing together eight companies and four academic institutions that will be delivering 15 world leading research projects as part of an Advanced Manufacturing Super Cluster, with the potential to generate thousands of high level jobs in Ireland and the eligible region.

Norman Apsley, Chief Executive of lead partner Catalyst Inc, explained that the five year €8.5 million investment, as part of the EU’s INTEREG VA programme, will create an Advanced Manufacturing Super Cluster based out of the North West, collaborating on research with the potential to ultimately deliver global products and processes that can be licenced throughout the world.

“Advanced manufacturing is the future and in our economy we need more globally competitive products and processes. This investment enables industry to collaborate with academia at an earlier stage while minimising their risk. The opportunity to be at the leading edge of this research will improve their competitiveness as well as the potential to create more high value jobs in the Knowledge Economy – which has a benefit for the economies of the three jurisdictions.”

NuPrint Technologies of Derry~Londonderry and the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at University of Glasgow will be working on a leading-edge project that could improve the safety of vulnerable patients by providing new conductive labeling on prescription medicines to address the problem of medication errors, recently highlighted by the World Health Organisation.

This research will focus on Painted Conductive Ink Technology, the printing of electronic circuitry on flexible labels to provide interactive labelling. This will be especially useful in a hospital environment. The patient wrist label could contain information on medication that can be checked to ensure the correct medicine is being prescribed and taken by the patient. An example of another application is within the food sector where sensors could be incorporated into the packaging to ensure the food has been kept at the right temperatures during transportation.

Gavin Killeen, Managing Director of NuPrint Technologies said that they are delighted to be able to get involved at an early stage of this research.

“This has the potential to transform the scope of conductive labelling and ensure that NuPrint Technologies are in the vanguard in this technical development and application to create more innovative products and solutions” he explained.

The other companies involved under the four main research themes of Additive Manufacture; Advanced Polymers; Nano Manufacturing and Sustainable Manufacturing include Laser Prototypes Europe Ltd (LPE); Armstrong Medical; Randox; Abbott Ireland and GSK-Steifel.

The Lead Principal Investigator for the project, which includes 4 academic partners - Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, University of Glasgow and Sligo IT, is Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones who explained that the 13 PhD students and 13 post-doctoral researchers recruited for the 15 research projects will be working to solve problems that will bring economic benefit to the region.

“The Intellectual Property developed through this research will be available on licence to any company throughout the world but the project industry partners will have the advantage of being given the first opportunity to obtain the licence. This demonstrates the importance of universities and industry working together for a wider economic benefit.”

Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme said “This €8.5m investment is testament to the EU’s commitment through the INTERREGVA Programme to enhance Research and Innovation capability in the region."

“The project is a tremendous example of cross-border co-operation, with the collective strengths of the projects partners set to drive competitiveness, develop new products & processes and strengthen the regional economy.”

Dr Paul Vance (Randox), Heather Cousins (Department for Economy), Gavin Killeen (NuPrint), Mayor Maolíosa McHugh (Derry City & Strabane District Council), John Greer (SEUPB), Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones (Ulster University) and Professor Norman Apsley (Catalyst Inc)