Universities north and south partner on Atlantic Innovation Corridor

Mar 02 2022 Posted: 10:01 GMT

NUI Galway and Ulster University lead flagship €4 million project to advance understanding of region and foster sustainable innovation

Cross-border research unveiled under Government’s Shared Island North-South Research Programme

NUI Galway and Ulster University have been announced as the lead partners on a new strategic regional development research project under the Government’s North-South Research Programme. 

The Atlantic Innovation Corridor is a cross-border collaboration focusing on themes such as rural entrepreneurial ecosystems, business scaling, female entrepreneurship, digitalisation, freight connectivity and mental health.

University of Limerick and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology are co-partners on the research.

The Atlantic Innovation Corridor will create a research team organised in hubs in Derry/Londonderry and Limerick and administered in the third hub in Galway.

The four year project was announced by Taoiseach Michéal Martin T.D. and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D. as part of the Government’s Shared Island North South Research Programme. 

The Atlantic Innovation Corridor involves a series of research work programmes on sustainable regional development for the north-west of the island, the west and mid-west.

Among the projects in the partnership are:

  • Mentoring scheme for female entrepreneurs in the region.
  • Identifying economic growth bottlenecks and how to take action; Business masterclasses for growth
  • Mental health promotion
  • Digital skills development, transformation and policy interventions in rural and peripheral regions
  • Impact of Brexit and Covid on female entrepreneurship 
  • Establishing the region and the partnership as an internationally recognised centre of excellence for impactful research.
  • Exploring international freight transport connectivity through the north-west of the island, including rail connectivity and the potential of Foyle Port.

Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President Research and Innovation at NUI Galway and Principal Investigator for the Atlantic Innovation Corridor, said: “This investment in large-scale social science research will create a resource for the region and the country. 

“Our collaboration will produce engaged research that will help guide us through the transitions, digital, green and energy, that are before us. It will also form a base from which we can share our insights and experience with other regions of Europe and the world which have difficult histories and borders but seek to make progress together. 

“This ambitious agenda is shared with our partners in the Western Development Commission, the North West Regional Development Authority and our collaborators in AwakenHub. We see this investment as a foundation from which we will build partnerships and engagement key across all these projects, our NUI Galway research community playing a great role and the Atlantic Innovation Corridor is an opportunity to deeply explore and understand our region with the express intent to leverage this to further sustainable develop. We are delighted to work with colleagues in Ulster University and in multiple other institutions across our island.”

Professor Liam Maguire, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Ulster University said: “Alongside the well-documented environmental factors of sustainable development, this unique partnership aims to explore and address human considerations including the responsiveness of communities and sectors to mobilise for collective action and innovation.”

“From our progressive campus in Derry~Londonderry, we are uniquely placed to contribute to this three-city regional collaboration, incorporating research that can contribute insights, inform policy and drive forward practical solutions for the benefit of individuals, organisations and communities.”

University of Limerick Vice President Research Professor Norelee Kennedy said: “UL is delighted to partner with our colleagues in NUI Galway, Ulster University and GMIT on the Atlantic Innovation Corridor exploring social capital and collective action capacity of the region. Through exploring entrepreneurship ecosystems in rural regions, business scaling in the Atlantic Corridor and the challenges and opportunities for smaller regional innovation systems UL will support the consortium in this ambitious programme of impactful, policy informing research.”

The North-South Research Programme is a collaborative scheme funded through the Government’s Shared Island Fund. It is being administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.


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