Derry’s new £12million Science Park will be fully operational by the autumn of 2014, the north’s Social Development Minister has confirmed.
Nelson McCausland last week said an agreement has been signed that will allow construction work to get underway in the coming days.
The Science Park, a a satellite of Belfast’s Northern Ireland Science Park, will house a 20,000 sq ft extension to the Co-Lab facility at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
Mr McCausland said the park has the potential to create hundreds of new high quality jobs.
“The North West Regional Science Park will help grow new technology and knowledge-based businesses in the Londonderry area and deliver new employment and development opportunities.
“The construction phase of the park is planned to commence next week and it is anticipated that the park will be operational by the autumn of 2014. I look forward to seeing the project develop when construction gets underway,” he said.
Frank Hewitt NI Science Park Chairman said Derry now has the “opportunity to build on the success already achieved in the Northern Ireland Science Park.”
“Our collective aim now is to develop on the Fort George site a dynamic, knowledge-based centre which will both encourage the talent and creativity of companies and young people in the North West, and attract more science-based companies from around the world to invest in the area.
Derry’s MP Mark Durkan said he is delighted construction work will get underway this week.
He said there has been a sense of frustration over the “lack of active development at the strategic Fort George site and the factors in such delay.”
“However, we should all now be giving every encouragement to the various stakeholders involved (including the North West Cross Border Group, Ilex and the Special EU Programmes Body) in order to bring this landmark project to fruition.
“This partnership development still has some way to go in terms of implementation but the progress now being made is a welcome delivery indicator for one of the key planks of the One Plan.
“I want to acknowledge the good work of the Northern Ireland Science Park in taking this proposal forward.
“This is an opportunity that really does put us in a different place if we can make the most of it.”
The Fort George site, is already home to the trans Atlantic Project Kelvin telehouse.