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City Deals will support Northern Ireland to flourish in key sectors: Dodds

The Belfast Region City Deal will provide a platform for Northern Ireland to thrive in important sectors of the global economy such as life and health sciences and data analytics.

That was the message from Economy Minister Diane Dodds following a meeting with senior representatives of companies who are working with Queen’s University (QUB) and the Ulster University (UU) to support three City Deal Innovations projects.

In the latest in a series of meetings, the Minister met with representatives from Celerion to discuss the iReach proposal – a £46m project supported by QUB to create a high-quality environment that will significantly increase Northern Ireland’s capacity to run clinical trials, and develop new treatments that can support improved health outcomes for society.

She also met with representatives from Sensata and PwC to discuss the QUB- supported Global Innovation Institute. The £58m project aims to promote growth in key sectors through providing solutions for the digital economy.

The Minister also spoke with representatives from Dell, Northern Ireland and BT Technology to hear about the £43m Centre of Digital Health Care Technology which is aims to accelerate the production of innovative medical technology. The project is being led by the UU.

The Minister said:

“Northern Ireland is a small, agile economy supported by a highly-skilled workforce. In order to captilise on this, we must focus on the sectors where we can be genuinely world class – such as life and health sciences and data analytics.

“I was excited to hear about these City Deal Innovations projects. The Belfast Region City Deal is the driving force behind important collaborations which bring together the knowledge and expertise of our universities with the energy and forward-thinking of some of our most innovative companies. They are underpinned with the support of local, regional and national government.

“Innovation is at the heart of my Economic Recovery Action Plan and that is why it was important to hear how we are building on our reputation for skill and capability in two important sectors of the global economy. Projects like these will drive forward our recovery and are an intrinsic part of our longer-term vision for the Northern Ireland economy.”

The Belfast Region City Deal will deliver up to £1 billion investment by the Northern Ireland Executive, UK Government, universities, local authorities and the private sector over the next 15 years.

More details on The Economic Recovery Action Plan can be found at: