Belfast-based project moves to next stage of multi-million pound funding bid

Artemis Technologies chief executive, Iain Percy pictured with the firm's head of innovation, Mark Gillan in Belfast last October to launch plans to establish a new facility in Belfast Harbour.
Gareth McKeown

A BELFAST-based technology company has moved through to the next stage of a multi-million pound funding programme.

Artemis Technologies, a spin-off from America's Cup sailing team Artemis Racing, is leading the only bid from Northern Ireland selected for the next stage of the UK Research and Innovation's Strength in Places Fund.

The Belfast project, which centres on the decarbonisation of maritime transportation, has received early-stage funding of up to £50,000 to produce a full bid, which if successful,could result in a cash boost of up to £50 million.

The project, launched in Belfast last October, will also return commercial shipbuilding to the city.

The consortium behind the bid aims to fast track the prototyping of a new class of vessels and sub-systems, including a wind/electric hybrid, named the Autonomous Sailing Vessel (ASV).

The ASV will be a zero-emissions 45m long ocean-going high-performance commercial carbon composite wind/electric catamaran, that will offer unlimited range.

Artemis Technologies chief executive, double Olympic gold medalist Iain Percy said the early-stage funding is a major endorsement of their plans

to make Belfast the "advanced maritime manufacturing capital of the world".

“The city is already home to some of the most advanced aerospace and composite engineering talent available anywhere on the planet and we want to harness that potential by combining it with Belfast's rich maritime history and our own expertise in high-speed yacht design."

“We strongly believe this project will be an economic game-changer for Northern Ireland by placing the region at the very heart of the revolution of the maritime sector," Mr Percy said.

The Belfast bid, ‘Decarbonisation of Maritime Transportation - a Return to Commercial Sailing', is one of 24 projects to receive early-stage funding to develop full-stage proposals.

Teams behind the projects will then submit these bids to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in late 2019, with four to eight of the strongest set to receive between £10m and £50m each to carry out projects designed to drive substantial economic growth.

Chief executive of UKRI, Professor Sir Mark Walport added:

“Significant support through the Strength in Places Fund will further catalyse economic potential across the country by bringing researchers, industry and regional leadership together to drive sustained growth through world-class research and innovation.”

The Strength in Places Fund is a cross-council UKRI programme in partnership with the higher education funding bodies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Office for Students.

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