EU's £1.7m funding for '˜essential' Science Park

The European Union has allocatedmore than £1.7m to the North West Science Park's projects in Derry and Donegal over the past year.

Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 9:22 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:26 pm
The name of the NW Science Park has been changed to Catalyst Inc.

The figures were obtained from Derry & Strabane Council, which has been tasked with administering the funding to both the Science Park at Fort George in Derry and Letterkenny Institute of Technolongy (LYIT) over the past year.

A council spokesperson said that none of the monies were provided by Council but were all grant funded payments from the EU’s Interreg fund.

She said that the monies were allocated on a staged basis throughout the year to March 31, 2016, in accordance with agreed expenditure and the approved letter of offer.

The NW Regional Science Park was set up in 2014 with funding from the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme matched by money from the Irish and British Governments. The total investment is £12,051.925.

The project has established Ireland’s first cross-border Science Park, consisting of the Innovation Centre at Fort George and an extension to the CoLab Facility at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Last week it emerged that planning permission is to be sought for two new buildings on a similar scale to the 50,000 sq ft Innovation Centre at the Fort George site, as part of a £100m multi-campus investment driven by Catalyst NI- the new name for the NI Science Park. The new buildings in Derry will have a strong cross-border emphasis, strengthening ties with the LYIT.

Norman Apsley, chief executive of Catalyst Inc. said they were very pleased with how the North West sites in Derry and Letterkenny, which have around 500 people employed in the two hubs, had progressed.

Speaking about the project’s importance, a spokeswoman for Derry & Strabane Council said: “The Council is hugely supportive of the project and believes it is an essential part of our economic regeneration and ongoing commitment to investment in education.

“The Science Park provides a unique high-tech super connected work place facility which, unlike traditional accommodation providers, offers companies of all sizes a range of options from single hot desk facilities to large scale workspaces and support services.

“The facility is hugely beneficial to providing the necessary support for entrepreneurs, allowing them access to in-house services such as software, telecoms, digital media, to name but a few.”

She added: “The Science Park is already demonstrating its ability to stimulate business growth and the recent news of further investment is hugely significant.”