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The Future of CoLab

North West Regional Science Park

This project is a proposal by the Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT). This flagship project seeks to develop the North West Regional Science Park (NWRSP) within the context of the North West Technology Business Zone (NWTBZ) and as an extension of the activities and assets of NISP. Its aim is to stimulate the establishment and development of high quality technology and knowledge based businesses in the North West Region of the island of Ireland, significantly boosting the commercialization of the research capability of the North West, assisting in the expansion of knowledge based indigenous businesses and attracting higher value added inward investment projects and jobs to the region.

The NWRSP is in essence, a business support and technology transfer initiative, which will:

  • Encourage and support young innovation led, high growth, knowledge based businesses and those seeking to expand
  • Provide an environment where larger and international business can develop specific and close inter-relations with the centres of knowledge creation in the North West for their mutual benefit
  • Have formal and operational links with centres of knowledge creation such as Ulster and LYIT as well as other higher education institutes and research organisations.

The NWRSP will create an environment to support businesses in the knowledge sector, providing support during their growth and R&D phase. The NWRSP will be an economic driver and provide a focal point for balanced regional development, addressing particular challenges in the North West and building on cross border opportunities. The higher and further education institutions within the North West region will provide a pipeline into the facility.

The project will build upon the best practice and momentum that exists at NISP, including international Science Park experience, and its national and international linkages and global reputation. The NWRSP will be managed on a cross border basis and will provide high quality, flexible facilities to growing high tech, knowledge intensive companies in the region supported by a range of business services and management supports that will nurture and grow businesses in knowledge based sectors.

Within this context, the NWRSP will provide:

  • Intellectual and physical infrastructure that includes the built environment, its immediate surroundings as well as communications, telecommunications, IT, relevant business services and business support activities such as:
  • NISP CONNECT which encourages collaboration between Research Institutions, private sector start-ups, Experienced Entrepreneurs, Capital Providers (VC & angel), Government & Economic development agencies, Experienced Executives, Trade associations and Professional Services to provide an ‘Innovation Eco System’; and
  • NISP Halo, a private equity programme, which facilitates investment opportunities between national and international business angels and fledging knowledge, based businesses.
  • Management support, particularly from NISP, that is actively engaged in the transfer of both technology and, for small and medium sized clients, business skills.

To this end, the NWRSP will provide 70,000 sq ft across two locations of highly quality, flexible space creating an environment that supports business start up activity and encourages and facilitates business growth within the knowledge sector, namely:

  • a 50,000 square feet facility at the Fort George site in Derry~Londonderry
  • 20,000 square feet of knowledge intensive workspace adjacent to the existing CoLab facility at LYIT, County Donegal