The Innovation Projects will build on and sustain performance in these areas of strength.

Both regional universities produce research and impact of the highest quality and impact and are paving the way in terms of UK innovation activity through their formation of spin-out companies.

Our universities and further education colleges are well connected with local and global industry, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem this collaboration has created has potential to drive further growth.

  • Rapidly expanding Knowledge Economy
    • Northern Ireland is the second fastest-growing UK knowledge economy after London.
    • We need to sustain this progress through further investments in R&D, innovation and digital, technology, skills and infrastructure.
  • Life and Health Sciences
    • The sector generates sales of over £800 million annually.
    • Regional excellence exists in diagnostics, clinical trials, respiratory, medicine and cardiology, medtech and digital health.
    • NI’s health and social care system is underpinned by fully integrated care records which * are unique within the UK.
  • Agri-food
    • Agri-food is Northern Ireland’s largest sector, with Agriculture and Food and Drink
    • Processing contributing 3.7% of Northern Ireland’s GVA.
    • The sector is a key source of exports for the Region’s economy, generating £1.26 billion * in export sales in 2017.
  • Advanced Manufacturing, Materials and Engineering
    • The AMME sector represents Representing 56% of export sales in Northern Ireland, and almost 40% of sales occur outside of the country the AMME sector is extremely globally-orientated.
    • The sector represents approximately 30% of Northern Ireland’s employment.
    • The Region has critical mass in aerospace, composites, polymers, photonics and construction, and across construction and materials handling.
  • Digital and Creative Technologies
    • Game of Thrones and global entertainment industry input into the Belfast Region has catalysed success in the Film and Television industry here.
    • GVA in the Digital and Creative Technologies increased by 60% between 2009 and 2013, * compared to 15% growth in the Creative Industries overall and 5% across all other Northern Ireland industries.
  • Financial, Business and Professional Services
    • The NI Skills Barometer (2019 has predicted that Northern Ireland’s Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sectors will experience the most additional growth in the coming decade.
    • The Belfast Region is already an attractive location for global investment due to the availability of highly educated talent, supportive business environment and cost-effectiveness.

Back to top