Supporting Northern Ireland

Queen’s University Belfast’s President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick G Johnston outlines the significant contribution the University makes to Northern Ireland.


Queen’s University Belfast makes a significant social and economic contribution to Northern Ireland.

The University’s track record of supporting the Northern Ireland economy is clear as highlighted by Universities UK in the recent publication of its report on the impact of Queen’s. This detailed report highlights the university’s contribution of £1 billion to the local economy by generating over 10,000 jobs and connecting Northern Ireland internationally. Queen’s is regarded as an economic anchor in the region, attracting business and investment as well as enriching cultural and community life.

Northern Ireland is the second fastest growing regional economy in the UK; Queen’s University plays a key role in this ongoing expansion as is evidenced by our outstanding track record in innovation and technology transfer. Queen’s has continued to build on its established strategy of fostering an entrepreneurial culture and promoting the successful transformation of good research into good business, through innovation and commercial development.

In December 2014, the University’s venture spin-out company, QUBIS Ltd, celebrated its 30th anniversary. QUBIS companies currently have an annual turnover in excess of £190 million and sustain 1,700 high value jobs in Northern Ireland. Our spin out companies include Andor (recently acquired by Oxford Instruments) and Kainos, both now highly successful global enterprises, making an enormous contribution to the economy.

Queen’s is number one in the UK for its participation in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), which help small companies to innovate and grow their businesses through the transfer of people and knowledge. Since 1993, Queen’s has collaborated on 350 successful KTPs, leading to careers for 400 KTP Associates and generating £350 million in increased profits for the Northern Irish businesses involved. In addition, engagement with small businesses through innovation vouchers, competence centres, collaborative networks and innovate UK funding schemes are a vital part of helping Northern Ireland build competitive, innovative and export-oriented companies.

We are proud of the impact we have on our local people and our community. Queen’s has a strong tradition of student volunteering and last year, over 3,000 students gave their time to work with a range of community and voluntary organisations. Projects included the running of homework clubs across inner city Belfast, whereby our students provide mentoring to primary and post-primary pupils in youth clubs and community organisations.

Many of the skills fostered and developed in our students not only underpin and encourage self-development and personal fulfilment, but are transferable and relevant to serving the needs of an adaptable, sustainable and global knowledge-based economy.

An enormous strength of Queen’s is our ability to provide highly skilled graduates across a wide range of disciplines. The proposed reduction in Corporation Tax will play a key role in transforming the Northern Ireland economy. However, in order to maximise the benefits of this, it is vital that there is highly skilled workforce that will attract inward investment and support the growth of indigenous companies.

The Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive recognise the important role that our Universities have to play in this process and Queen’s University is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure a sustainable funding model that supports the expansion of higher education to ensure we have a highly skilled and dynamic workforce.

Professor Patrick G Johnson

Vice-Chancellor’s Office

Belfast, BT7 1NN



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