Dodds' first ministerial announcement is cash for energy research centre

Economy Minister Diane Dodds (right) with Sam McCloskey (left), director of the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy and CASE chairman Trevor Haslett
Ryan McAleer

ECONOMY Minister Diane Dodds has confirmed £3.6 million in funding for an energy research centre based at Queen's University.

The first announcement since she took on the economy portfolio on Saturday, the funds from Invest NI will support phase two of the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE).

Based at Queen's University, CASE is an industry-led centre that uses research from Ulster University and government-backed research body, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

It was initially set up in 2013 with the backing of Invest NI.

Ms Dodds said the CASE project had created opportunities for around 50 companies in the past six years, enabling them to collaborate with academic researchers to explore innovative technologies and services.

“CASE has also exceeded its targets,” she said.

“This includes its support in securing over £3m of funding to Northern Ireland for the Bryden Centre – a cross-border renewable energy research centre funded under the EU's Interreg VA programme and led from Belfast.

“In the coming years, I look forward to watching the progress CASE makes with some of the world's major challenges in sustainable energy research for the benefit of the Northern Ireland economy.”

Director of CASE, Sam McCloskey, said the centre had successfully helped leverage funding into the north's sustainable energy sector. He said the new cash would allow that work to continue.

“We are delighted that the minister and Invest NI has recognised the importance of continuing research in sustainable energy and has committed to funding CASE in this second phase. This R&D is particularly important in light of the links between decarbonising the energy system and reducing the impact of climate change.”

Chair of CASE, Trevor Haslett, added: “Our ambitions are to capitalise on the positive R&D outcomes from our collaborative projects to date and to maximise the benefits for our industrial members.”

He said more details will be outlined at a conference in Queen's University today.

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