New Derry Advanced Manufacturing Centre

Sinead McLaughlin, Chamber of Commerce, pictured previously with Philip Gilliland Catalyst Inc board director, and Aiofe McHale Visit Derry at the official launch of Catalyst Inc at North West Innovation Centre. (�/Lorcan Doherty Photography)
Sinead McLaughlin, Chamber of Commerce, pictured previously with Philip Gilliland Catalyst Inc board director, and Aiofe McHale Visit Derry at the official launch of Catalyst Inc at North West Innovation Centre. (�/Lorcan Doherty Photography)

Fort George based Catalyst Inc has launched a new North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing.

The new collaboration brings together eight companies and four academic institutions that will be delivering 15 world leading research projects as part of an Advanced Manufacturing Super Cluster.

Those behind the project said it has the potential to generate thousands of high-level jobs in Ireland.

Norman Apsley, Chief Executive of lead partner Catalyst Inc, said that the five-year £8m investment - part of the EU’s INTERREG VA programme - will create an Advanced Manufacturing Super Cluster based locally.

Together they will be collaborating on research with the potential to ultimately deliver global products and processes that can be licenced throughout the world. Mr Apsley said: “Advanced manufacturing is the future and in our economy, we need more globally competitive products.”

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

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 is in the vanguard in this technical development and application to create more innovative products and solutions,” he said.

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 four 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.”