40 new roles at Queens Uni as EU puts €9m into major energy hub
A new ‘virtual centre of competence’ is being created at Queens University in Belfast, after the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme pumped money into further bioenergy research. Billed with supporting cross-border research into bioenergy and marine-based renewable energy sources, the hub will see the creation of 40 new roles.
The €9.3m project will focus on heat, biogas and electricity which can be produced through the anaerobic digestion of agri-food waste. The research findings produced will benefit many SMEs struggling to enhance their innovation capacity within the renewable energy sector.
Some of the cross-border research to benefit from the programme includes the use of tidal power at Strangford Lough and the North Antrim Coast, ocean energy sites in Western Scotland, as well as the potential for wave and tidal power generation in Donegal. 34 PhD students and six postdoctoral research associates will be located at the ‘Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy Research’.
Named after the late Prof Ian Bryden, the centre will see those researching there to produce industry relevant research that has the potential for strong commercial benefit.
“The region has a low level of industry-relevant research and innovation within the renewable energy sector,” said Gina McIntyre CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, which manages the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme.
“The Bryden Centre project will help address this issue by creating a new centre of competence made up of dedicated PhD students creating high-quality research with strong commercial potential.
“This is one of the core objectives of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme as it has allocated a total of €71.7m worth of funding to enhance and develop the Research & Innovation capacity of businesses on both sides of the border.”
Working with a number of cross-border partners including the University of Highlands and Islands, Letterkenny IT, Ulster University, the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, Donegal County Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council, the organisers claim this project will create the largest amount of cross-border research in this specific area to date.
“I am delighted that my department is co-funding this initiative together with our counterpart department in Northern Ireland,” said Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, TD.
“The project involves practical cross border cooperation which will benefit colleges and companies from both jurisdictions.
“Advanced research on renewable energy is a very worthwhile project and this work will contribute many benefits, including a long term legacy for the future.”