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New £29m BT Belfast R&D Centre To Research AI, 5G And IoT

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT and Ulster University will work together on future tech research in Northern Ireland

BT is opening a £28.6 million R&D facility in Northern Ireland, partnering with Ulster University to research future technologies.

The BT Belfast Global Development Centre will create 50 new graduate jobs as well as 25 university research posts.

The focus of the centre’s activities over the next five years will be the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics for customer experience, cybersecurity and 5G.

“This is an exciting and significant investment for BT and for Northern Ireland,” declared Howard Watson, BT Technology, Service and Operations CEO.

Belfast Northern Ireland

BT Northern Ireland

“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.

“We hope the opening of this world-class facility will help attract and retain Northern Ireland’s considerable IT talent.

BT employs 3,495 people in Northern Ireland and the new facility is receiving £9 million of backing from Invest NI, which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

 “This ambitious industry partnership with BT is a unique collaboration opportunity,” said Ulster University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon.

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“It builds upon two decades of our academic leadership in cognitive analytics and our recent £4 million investment in a new data analytics research institute. Computing and engineering at Ulster University is at the forefront of diverse research excellence in data science and networks, equipping us to play an integral role in transformative telecommunications.

“Creating 25 research posts – including 12 at PhD level – the new centre offers unrivalled higher education opportunities alongside industry leaders.  Through our research and skilled graduate talent we are proud to support indigenous industry and the region’s ability to attract foreign direct investment.  This commitment to a vibrant economy is further enhanced by our working in collaboration with Invest NI.”

Earlier this month BT announced plans to invest £20 million to bring fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband to another 140,000 homes and businesses in the country.

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