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Smart Manufacturing accelerator programme launched by Smart Nano NI to empower Northern Ireland manufacturers

Local technology consortium Smart Nano NI has launched a new accelerator programme led by Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, to transform the manufacturing landscape across Northern Ireland.

The Smart Manufacturing accelerator will provide an opportunity for manufacturers to learn about and experiment with emerging technologies, in a bid to improve efficiency and drive sustainable sectoral growth as part of the Digital Catapult Smart Nano Accelerator Programme.

In collaboration with GEMX, an industry led collaborative network of innovative companies and educational institutes in Northern Ireland’s North West, the Smart Manufacturing accelerator aims to equip up to 10 manufacturing companies with the knowledge and tools to harness the power of Industry 4.0’s smart technologies. GEMX has worked alongside Digital Catapult NI to tailor the programme to suit the needs of companies from the region.

This initiative is supported by the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund as an integral part of the five-year journey by nano technology consortium Smart Nano NI to further the development of photonics, smart manufacturing and nano technology cluster in Northern Ireland, with the accelerator being delivered by consortium member Digital Catapult NI.

Commencing in October 2023, participants will engage in a comprehensive series of workshops, demonstrations and talks taking place across four in-person sessions, combined with self-paced learning, remote support and consultation. This holistic approach will enable participants to investigate targeted and actionable solutions drawing on cutting-edge technologies including photonics, internet of things (IoT), future networks (including 5G), immersive technologies (augmented and virtual reality) and artificial intelligence & data science.

The programme will foster connections with peers and potential collaborators within the manufacturing ecosystem, with dedicated Digital Catapult experts guiding participants through the innovation process. Participating companies will define specific business challenges and strategise advanced technology solutions to bolster their performance and effectively leverage new industrial solutions.

William Revels, Managing Director at Digital Catapult Northern Ireland said: “Manufacturers in Northern Ireland play a vital role in driving economic and regional growth, while simultaneously increasing employment opportunities and fostering national and international collaboration. The Smart Manufacturing accelerator will enable these pioneering manufacturing companies to understand how to integrate cutting-edge technologies into their operations, boosting their performance, and in turn, sharpening Northern Ireland’s manufacturing edge.”

Joanne Sweeney, Project Director at GEMX said: “At GEMX we aim to inspire and generate engineering and manufacturing excellence so we are delighted to partner with Digital Catapult and Smart Nano NI to help shape the development of SMEs in the North West. This programme will provide an opportunity to explore the wealth of opportunities for development and expansion industry 4.0 provides within the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.”

Any company keen to embrace the future of manufacturing and explore the potential of smart technologies, can apply online here for the Smart Manufacturing accelerator. Application deadline is 24th September 2023.