Development & Alumni Relations Office 


24 November 2016

Northern Ireland should be a place that attracts the best talent in the world, so says the latest Knowledge Economy Index (KEI), which also predicts that as many as 160,000 roles, including indirect jobs, will be created here over the next 10-15 years.

The publication of the annual Knowledge Economy Report (on 22.11.16) took place at ECIT, Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology, which is based in the Northern Ireland Science Park.

Supported by Bank of Ireland UK, the Report also shows Northern Ireland as the second fastest growing in the UK for the third consecutive year, with Scotland the fastest growing for the first time.

Currently Knowledge Economy companies in Northern Ireland - in pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, software and electronics -contribute 30% of total exports with 70% of their sales outside the EU bringing a largely 'Brexit proof' opportunity to expand the local knowledge economy. 

Steve Orr (pictured centre above), Director of Connect at Catalyst Inc, revealed that the findings from the report have contributed to three key recommendations from the Connect Leadership Board, which is made up of members from business and academia.

“Our priority recommendations are focus on becoming world-class in research and development in specialist clusters of Healthcare, Cyber Security and Data Analytics as well as Advanced Engineering. Secondly, education modernisation and investment up to PhD level and thirdly, immediate implementation of existing venture capital recommendations from the Economic Advisory Group.

“This will lead to the development of people who create companies, commercialise products and develop world class sales and marketing skills specific to supporting these exports.

“We are an acknowledged international leader in cyber security research, expertise that has led to the creation locally of more than 1,000 jobs in the last three years, with more in the pipeline, in effect leading to the creation of a new business cluster in Northern Ireland, involving more than 30 companies. 

ECIT Director Professor John McCanny (pictured right), welcomed the Knowledge Economy recommendations and revealed that as a living example of the policies in action, they in the past 6 years have secured over £40m in research and development funds to accelerate the delivery of industrially relevant cyber security solutions that will apply worldwide across a whole range of platforms from connected health, autonomous vehicles and smart cities.

“Northern Ireland already has a world-leading activity in this area because we have the right people with the right qualifications and creative research ethos. The opportunity is here now to achieve the jobs target set by the KE Report.

“We in academia, business and government need to work closely together to grasp that opportunity and recognise we can take the lead in giving our young people a strong future in this new economic world order.”

Ian Sheppard (back left), Bank of Ireland’s Regional Director for Northern Ireland, report sponsor said: “The 2016 report continues to highlight the importance of the Knowledge Economy for private sector growth. Every type of business is impacted by technology, software and knowledge development. 

“Northern Ireland continues to see great examples of value creation through innovation such as the recent Trucorp transaction. It is important to recognise the progress made and for Northern Ireland to continue to push forward in delivering on its collective potential.”

Media inquiries to Emma Gallagher, Communications Officer at Queen’s on +44 (0)28 9097 3087. 


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