Catalyst Inc is new name for Northern Ireland Science Park as £100m investment is revealed

Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE Northern Ireland Science Park is being re-named as Catalyst Inc from today.

It comes part of an ambitious 10-year business plan targeting £100 million investment value in driving innovation and technology to support the local knowledge economy.

The investment will include adding 5,000 high quality jobs and a total of one million square feet of space, starting with three new buildings, two of which will be in Derry with a strong cross-border connection and another on the existing Belfast site.

Other outcomes include generating a cash surplus to scale activities over and above current levels which will deliver £250m a year, or approximately 7,000 knowledge-based jobs, and doubling the number of start-ups in its various programmes like Connect and the Halo Angel PLUS Network, which will be scaled up.

“Catalyst Inc is built upon the deep belief that in Northern Ireland we have a community of innovators so powerful its people can change the world," according to Norman Apsley, chief executive of Catalyst Inc.

"We provide the home, networks and empathy to support this talent and ambition to develop world leading products and services that will transform Northern Ireland into one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe.”

Set up in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement to help rebalance the north's economy and support a vision for a vibrant new knowledge economy, the Northern Ireland Science Park exceeded all its original targets and growth expectations.

It has supported the achievement of 2,600 jobs (representing an average 30 per cent a year growth by tenant companies), the development of 400,000 square feet of agile and connected workspace and leveraging additional private sector support and investment equating to £1 million annually.

"This has been achieved in just 16 years working closely, in particular, with both universities as well as the political, public and private sectors, and we are now embarking on our next stage of evolution, re-envisaged as Catalyst Inc," Dr Apsley added.

"Catalyst Inc is a not-for-profit organisation and we are confident that this exciting phase of our development will accelerate the attraction of International companies to Northern Ireland and continue to actively support the growth of indigenous companies.

Already home to 160 companies in science, technology and knowledge based industries, its current tenants include Citi, Novosco, Dow, Path XL, 8over8, Wurkhouse, Taggled, IRP Commerce, Automated Intelligence, IBM and Qualcom.

"The new name reflects their catalytic impact on the development of technology and knowledge based businesses and the fact that they are totally inclusive in their support for everyone from a start-up to a highly evolved business," he said.

The re-envisaging of the Northern Ireland Science Park to Catalyst Inc will be revealed to tenants, staff and leaders of Northern Ireland business at a celebration breakfast this morning.

"The most important remit of the organisation’s rebrand was to ensure an authentic representation of ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’," Dr Apsley said.

"Through a series of workshops and listening exercises, with a range of tenants and external stakeholders, the definition of the modus operandi became clear.

"Catalyst Inc is an active force, a catalyst accelerating positive change that is inclusive with regards the benefits to, and participation of, Northern Ireland’s entire society."


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