Smart Nano NI Launches Smart Manufacturing Accelerator Program to Revolutionize Northern Ireland’s Manufacturing Sector

by Anna

Local technology consortium Smart Nano NI has unveiled a groundbreaking accelerator program, in partnership with Digital Catapult, the foremost authority on advanced digital technology in the UK. This initiative aims to usher in a new era of manufacturing excellence throughout Northern Ireland, boosting efficiency and driving sustainable sectoral growth. Known as the “Smart Manufacturing accelerator,” it forms an integral part of the Digital Catapult Smart Nano Accelerator Programme.

In collaboration with GEMX, an industry-led collaborative network comprising innovative companies and educational institutes in Northern Ireland’s North West, the Smart Manufacturing accelerator sets out to empower up to 10 manufacturing companies with the knowledge and tools required to harness the transformative potential of Industry 4.0’s smart technologies. GEMX has worked closely with Digital Catapult NI to customize the program to suit the unique needs of regional businesses.


This ambitious initiative has garnered support from the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund, underpinning the five-year journey of Smart Nano NI, a nano-technology consortium, to advance photonics, smart manufacturing, and nano-technology clusters in Northern Ireland. The program itself will be delivered by consortium member Digital Catapult NI.


Commencing in October 2023, participants will engage in a comprehensive series of workshops, demonstrations, and talks conducted over four in-person sessions. Additionally, they will benefit from self-paced learning, remote support, and consultations. This holistic approach will empower participants to explore targeted and actionable solutions harnessing cutting-edge technologies such as photonics, the Internet of Things (IoT), future networks (including 5G), immersive technologies (augmented and virtual reality), and artificial intelligence & data science.


Furthermore, the program will facilitate valuable connections with peers and potential collaborators within the manufacturing ecosystem. Dedicated experts from Digital Catapult will guide participants through the innovation process. Participating companies will have the opportunity to define specific business challenges and develop advanced technology solutions, thereby enhancing their performance and effectively capitalizing on new industrial solutions.


William Revels, the Managing Director at Digital Catapult Northern Ireland, emphasized the critical role played by manufacturers in driving economic growth, increasing employment opportunities, and fostering national and international collaboration in Northern Ireland. Revels noted that the Smart Manufacturing accelerator will empower pioneering manufacturing companies to seamlessly integrate cutting-edge technologies into their operations, thus enhancing their performance and sharpening Northern Ireland’s manufacturing edge.

Joanne Sweeney, Project Director at GEMX, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership with Digital Catapult and Smart Nano NI, underlining their shared goal of inspiring and generating engineering and manufacturing excellence in the North West. Sweeney believes that this program will provide an opportunity to explore the wealth of opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 within the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.

Any forward-thinking company keen to embrace the future of manufacturing and explore the vast potential of smart technologies is encouraged to apply online for the Smart Manufacturing accelerator. The application deadline is set for September 24, 2023.

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