BT bases new £28m research hub in Belfast

Telecoms giant joining with Ulster University for part of investment

The new Belfast hub will focus on areas including the internet of things, artificial intelligence and data analytics. Photograph: iStock

The new Belfast hub will focus on areas including the internet of things, artificial intelligence and data analytics. Photograph: iStock

 

BT is to base a research and development programme which could be worth up tp £28.6 million (€32.4 million) to the North over the next five years in a new multi-million pound facility in Belfast.

The telecoms giant officially launched its new BT Ireland Innovation Centre on Wednesday  and said the centre will focus on advanced research that will play a “crucial role” in its future.

In addition to its own in-house R&D programme BT is teaming up with the Ulster University to undertake £7 million of research projects that will support the creation of 25 new university research posts and an additional 50 graduate jobs in BT.

Howard Watson, BT Technology, Service and Operations chief executive said the latest investment boost for Northern Ireland was both “exciting and significant”.

Technology scouts

“Our new Innovation Centre will operate alongside our existing Belfast Global Development Centre, the BT Labs in Suffolk, and our global network of technology scouts to further strengthen our research and innovation capability, bringing together industrial engineers and university researchers.

“The areas of expertise in the new hub will include the internet of things, artificial intelligence and data analytics for customer experience and cyber security. We hope the opening of this world-class facility will help attract and retain Northern Ireland’s considerable IT talent.”

Invest NI is supporting BT’s latest R&D programmes with £9 million of financial support, some of which has been accessed from the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme.