Research and development and innovation

On 9 September 2014 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed the Innovation Strategy for Northern Ireland 2014 - 2025.

Northern Ireland Innovation Strategy

This Innovation Strategy sets out the key long term actions necessary to ensure that innovation plays its full part in realising the vision of Northern Ireland Economic Strategy.

For further information contact Debby McAllister:

Telephone: 028 9052 9616

Smart specialisation for Northern Ireland

Smart Specialisation, or RIS3 as it is commonly known, is the culmination of years of research and European best practice for methods of regional economic transformation which focus on:

  • research, development and innovation
  • key regional priorities
  • regional strengths
  • private sector development
  • stakeholder involvement
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • short video on Smart Specialisation

Why smart specialisation?

The European Commission is placing a high priority on innovation within Europe. Future European Commission structural funding (ERDF) will require regional Smart Specialisation Frameworks to be in place. This is an opportunity for Northern Ireland to focus research and innovation on many of its regional strengths to ultimately boost exports and economic growth:

For more information, email:

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest ever EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. There will be almost €80 billion of funding available during the period 2014 - 2020. The Northern Ireland Executive has set a target of €145 million. A Horizon 2020 Strategy has been produced.

Access further information on Horizon 2020

MATRIX - the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel

MATRIX was born out of the Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS) for Northern Ireland. In February 2007 it was tasked with bringing forward-focused advice on the future policies necessary for Northern Ireland to ensure economic growth and wealth creation through greater commercial exploitation of its science and technology capabilities.

The first MATRIX report, a Technology Capability report and five overarching Horizon Panel reports were launched by the DETI Minister on 8 October 2008. These reports focussed on the following five sectors:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • advanced materials
  • information and communications technology (ICT)
  • agri-food
  • life and health sciences

A further two Horizon Panel reports have been published on the following sectors:

  • telecoms
  • sustainable energy

The most recent report into Sustainable Energy was launched in April 2013. For information on it and all the other reports, please visit the MATRIX website.

Public sector innovation

SBRI, the Small Business Research Initiative, enables the public sector to tap into new ideas and technologies and speeds up their adoption. It helps government departments connect with innovative businesses to solve the tough challenges facing the public sector. For more information please visit the Innovate UK website.

Useful links

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