UK business secretary Vince Cable officially opened the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites Centre (NIACE research facility in East Belfast in January together with Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.

NIACE has received £2.7m in funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and will bring together leading academics and dynamic companies to develop new technologies for the design and rapid manufacture of high-quality composite products.

Dr Cable said: “Some people say the UK doesn’t make anything any more. Yet the companies I’m visiting in Belfast show this couldn’t be further from the truth. We are one of the world’s biggest manufacturers and a leading exporter of technology intensive products and services. The opening of NIACE is welcome as it demonstrates our ideas and innovations are being turned into new products and jobs.”

Northern Ireland Minister Hugo Swire, accompanied Dr Cable on the visit. He said: “This is a good day for Northern Ireland, we now have a centre of excellence to support our advanced manufacturing industry. NIACE will turn innovation into new technology which will give us the competitive edge we need in a global market. The companies we have visited today demonstrate that in Northern Ireland we have the capability to offer premium specialist services that the world wants.”