Carrickfergus firm Yelo in £64m technology consortium creating hundreds of jobs

A Carrickfergus company is to play a key role in a £64m game-changing opportunity for Northern Ireland’s nano technology and manufacturing sector.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 1:07 pm

Yelo is a part of Smart Nano NI - a Northern Ireland consortium - which has just been awarded £42.4m to develop new technology for medical devices, communication and data storage.

The funding by the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund launches the necessary support to scale up capacity in device manufacturing, underpin and develop hundreds of jobs across the sector.

The total project value, including leveraged funding from other sources, is £63.9m.

Consortium role for Carrickfergus company.

Smart Nano NI is led by data company Seagate Technology in collaboration with Analytics Engines, Causeway Sensors, Cirdan Imaging, Digital Catapult NI, North West Regional College, Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and Yelo. The eight partners form a corridor of expertise from Derry-Londonderry to Belfast.

The award was made after a highly competitive process with projects from across the UK. It is expected to further consolidate Northern Ireland’s position as a global leader for excellence in the field of nano technologies as well as delivering a significant and lasting impact on the economy.

Smart Nano NI’s Dr Mark Gubbins said: “We are delighted and honoured to secure this investment which will deliver significant benefits for the economic growth of the region and the ‘corridor’ of businesses from Belfast to Derry-Londonderry ensuring a levelling up of shared opportunities.

“We can now advance Northern Ireland’s niche capability around smart nano manufacturing and world-leading knowledge in photonics to create a self-sustaining local industry. It allows us to capitalise on the combined expertise of our companies and the availability of trained researchers and resources across our academic institutions.”

The consortium will accelerate the work of developing transformative advanced prototyping and smart manufacturing methods. This will allow for the delivery of new technologies as researchers and industry partners work together to develop sensors for healthcare and optical communications leveraging the vast wealth of the province’s research and industry knowledge.

The collaboration between all the members will enable the establishment of a Centre of Excellence. This will allow advances in the life and health sciences as well as exploiting the potential of photonics and nanotech in other high-growth sectors through knowledge transfer.

The consortium aims to deliver 100 new prototypes, six new products for Northern Ireland-based companies and over 30% productivity gain for industrial partners. There are also targets for commercialisation with 75 locally-based SMEs engaged with Smart Nano NI.

With the potential to create around 540 additional high added value jobs and sustain over 170 posts in the corridor area within 10 years, the support for the project has been welcomed

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “I wish to congratulate and acknowledge the outstanding team behind this achievement. Securing this funding through UKRI Strength in Places is a major boost for our economy and our post Covid recovery journey and is a testament to the power of collaboration and the calibre of Northern Ireland companies.

“It will create new commercial opportunities, will drive economic growth and help tackle productivity challenges, and invigorate our manufacturing sector.”

Employing over 50 people, Yelo is an electronic test equipment manufacturer which operates out of a 25,000 sq ft manufacturing facility at Trooperslane Industrial Estate.

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Click here to read: Carrickfergus company receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise

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