Profit boost for business on offer from local universities

Profit boost for business on offer from local universities

Many Northern Ireland companies are losing out financially by not utilising the knowledge and expertise on offer in local third-level education institutions. That’s according to Dr Paul Beaney of Dungannon-based Cherry Drainage Pipes, whose turnover has trebled to £9million since first beginning work with Queen’s University.

Dr Beaney said: “Many local firms could increase their profits by an average of £270,000 and create another three jobs, through engaging with the third-level sector here in various projects.”

Cherry Pipes and Queen’s, have been engaged in various Knowledge Transfer Partnerships since 2006, and are the current holders of the UK’s Best Knowledge Transfer Partnership title, awarded by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Dr Beaney was speaking ahead of a visit to County Tyrone today by Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson to meet with business leaders, politicians and school principals.

As part of his visit, Professor Gregson will visit leading company Greiner Packaging Ltd. in Dungannon, accompanied by Dr Tony McNally, Director of Queen’s Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC). Along with Queen’s PPRC, Greiner Packaging (formerly Wilsanco) was the winner of the first national award for the Best KTP Programme in Engineering in 1997. Since then the company has continued to work alongside researchers in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, donating equipment in excess of £100k to Queen’s, engaging in several collaborative projects and helping fund four PhD students. The company is also a member of the Founders’ Club at Queen’s Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre at Riddel Hall.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Professor Sir Peter Gregson, said: “Queen’s has a proud heritage of working with local industry, and has seen the value of working with our indigenous companies to make innovation happen. Local industry should know that it has a powerful ally in Queen’s. And likewise, we value the support given to us from industry, such as our partnership in the area of advanced materials with Greiner Packaging. By working together they are now at the forefront of their business sector and we have established Queen’s as a leading centre for thermoforming research.

“On my visit to County Tyrone today I am also looking forward to hearing from local politicians and school principals on how we can continue to best serve their community. Ensuring all our brightest students continue to have access to the world-class education on offer at Queen’s is a key commitment from the University, and key for Northern Ireland.”

Dr McNally added: “Many firms in Northern Ireland could grow their business, but don’t know how to access the appropriate knowledge, technology and expertise. Many others fear an additional cost burden in doing so. I want to urge local businesses, big and small, to contact us and other third-level colleges and see how they can work alongside us, as we are more than willing to share our knowledge and research capabilities with local industry.”

Firms wishing to enquire about accessing the expertise on offer within Queen’s should contact Mary Flynn in the University’s KTP & Business Networks Centre. Tel: 028 90 97 5444 or email

Queen’s is currently the lead University in the United Kingdom in terms of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) with 30 partnerships currently active. Those who engage in KTPs experience increased profits, new job creation, additional training for members of staff, and further investment in plant and machinery.

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Senior Communications Officer. Tel: +44 (0)28 90 97 5384 or m 0781 44 22 572 email