Build starts on advanced manufacturing centre in Belfast

Kara Bailie, deputy director of strategic programmes at Queen’s joins councillor Neil Kelly, mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, Joe Kennedy, US special envoy to Northern Ireland for economic affairs, Professor Sir Ian Greer, Queen’s vice-chancellor, Sam Turner, AMIC CEO and John Irwin, CEO of Kiverco and chair of AMIC Industry Board
Kara Bailie, deputy director of strategic programmes at Queen’s joins councillor Neil Kelly, mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, Joe Kennedy, US special envoy to Northern Ireland for economic affairs, Professor Sir Ian Greer, Queen’s vice-chancellor, Sam Turner, AMIC CEO and John Irwin, CEO of Kiverco and chair of AMIC Industry Board

Construction has started on the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) in Newtownabbey, Greater Belfast, led by Queen’s University Belfast.

Key representatives from industry, government and academia joined together to mark a major milestone for the centre through a £100m investment, expected to create up to 1,500 jobs across Northern Ireland, contribute £1bn to the economy and train 300 apprentices by 2050.

The ‘Factory of the Future’ is being delivered in partnership with industry, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Ulster University as part of a wider £230m transformational programme of innovation led by Queen’s and supported by the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive through Belfast Region City Deal. Almost £80m of funding for AMIC has come from the City Deal.

Due to open in 2026, the 10,000m² open access manufacturing and engineering innovation centre hopes to reinvigorate local industrial potential and address the future technology and skills challenges faced by the region’s manufacturing sector.

AMIC, which has the capacity for 150 staff, will provide a specialised environment for advanced manufacturing, materials, and engineering sectors to access the latest digital, automation and robotics technology, supported by experienced engineers and underpinned by academic excellence.

An image render of the finished factory

Following a recent recruitment campaign, AMIC has grown its team of experienced engineers and support staff to over 50, to increase delivery of digitalisation and innovation projects for local manufacturing companies across a range of sectors.  

This work builds on more than 55 years of Queen's delivering industry-focused innovation through the Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC), Polymers Processing Research Centre (PPRC) and Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE).

The innovation centre recently received Full Business Case approval from government, signalling confidence that AMIC can deliver on time and to budget following a rigorous specialist and peer-reviewed process.

Sam Turner, CEO of AMIC, said: “AMIC is already live and supporting economic growth and prosperity for Northern Ireland by creating high quality jobs and increasing inward investment through high value manufacturing innovation clusters. With core capabilities in digitalising manufacturing, smart design, sustainable polymers and composites, and smart nanotech we are working with local businesses across the region to address technology and skills challenges.

“It’s fantastic to see construction start on the Factory of the Future which will enable us to further drive industrial transformation, paving the way for future technologies and competing globally with a more sustainable focus.”

AMIC
www.we-are-amic.com

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