A drive around the border regions of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland highlights the availability and growing numbers of businesses in the advanced manufacturing and engineering, and renewable energy sectors. This is evidenced by the number of anaerobic digestion, marine energy conversion, solar and wind conversion systems available in the area. Although having a strong presence in the border region, these enterprises are largely observed not to be well engaged in research and innovation (R&I) activities in a strategic and collaborative way, with limited activity and innovation in new products and process development. Thus the capacity of this high-value sector to create a significantly enhanced economic, as well as environmental impact is not currently realised. To achieve the sustainability, continuity and overall economic viability of regional enterprises operating in the renewable energy sector, a mechanism to provide R&I infrastructures was deemed to be urgently needed and informed priority funding of this issue by the European Commission (EC).
To meet the objective of providing research and innovation to regional SMEs, IT Sligo is playing a significant part in the €6.1 million “Renewable Engine Project” funded by the EC. Renewable Engine is an exciting cross-border Research and Innovation (R&I) project aimed at facilitating direct knowledge transfer and technology development in the Renewable Energy and Advanced Manufacturing sectors through the provision of industrial research support and technology development grants to companies. The project is implemented across the eligible region of Northern Ireland, Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. The project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), with match funding provided by the Department for the Economy and Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland.
The Renewable Engine Project involves four research institutes with specialist knowledge in Renewable Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. Led by South West College, Renewable Engine operates across a network of research institutes including Queens University Belfast, Institute of Technology (IT) Sligo and the University of Strathclyde’s High-Value Manufacturing Catapult. Collectively, this network has significant academic resources and research facilities which will be utilised to produce leading-edge academic research while also supporting companies to access world-class equipment, expertise and collaborative R&I opportunities. In IT Sligo the project is driven by the principal investigators Dr John Bartlett and Prof Suresh Pillai.
For more information please see www.renewableengine.eu to find out more check out this video summary.