£1.9 Million to NI Companies

Fourteen innovative companies have won £1.9m of funding from the Innovate UK Launchpad for Northern Ireland. This Innovate UK Launchpad provides innovation support and funding tailored to the local area’s strengths in Life and Health Sciences.

The Innovate UK Launchpads support clusters of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and helps the most innovative businesses to progress their projects towards commercialisation, contributing to local economic growth. The Northern Ireland Life and Health Sciences Launchpad has been developed through a partnership between the national innovation agency, Innovate UK, and Invest Northern Ireland.

This first competitive round of investment attracted a large response from local businesses and innovators. The businesses funded are to develop innovative technologies such as:

  • Diagnosis of sports related injuries
  • Stroke recovery
  • Cancer therapeutics
  • 3D imaging
  • Regenerative Medicine

Dean Cook, Director of Place and Levelling Up at Innovate UK said: “At Innovate UK, we are committed to supporting regional innovation capabilities and nurturing technology clusters across the UK. Today, we are proud to announce details on the businesses and innovations to receive the initial investments through our Innovate UK Launchpad programme.

This significant funding from Innovate UK further strengthens Northern Ireland’s renown Life and Health Sciences cluster with businesses right across Northern Ireland benefiting.   The investment in this cluster is complementary with the centres of excellence being developed as part of Northern Ireland’s City and Growth Deals and Northern Ireland’s Economy Minister’s Economic Vision with their potential to deliver jobs, growth, higher productivity and support levelling-up.

This initiative underscores our commitment to fostering innovation, driving economic growth and the transformative potential of collaboration within the robust technology clusters across the UK.”

Professor Joann Rhodes, CEO of the Health Innovation Research Alliance NI (HIRANI), who are the Cluster Management Organisation, said: “HIRANI’s strategic sector-specific insights over the last three years has established a roadmap to connect and promote the strengths and capabilities in the health and life sciences sector for better health and prosperity in Northern Ireland. This fantastic place-based Launchpad opportunity from Innovate UK will be transformational to nurture health and life sciences businesses of all sizes to unleash their full potential and help embed the pipeline of talent through creating quality highly skilled jobs.   It is Northern Ireland’s distinctive capabilities in precision diagnostics, biomarkers and AI that help to set us apart from the rest along with world-class assets on our doorstep.  However, these latest grants are just the beginning when it comes to our ambitions for our area: this is the fastest growing sector in NI, with over £200 million infrastructure investment and over £1 billion of new projects still to unlock. We are well positioned between the UK-EU and with strong relationships in the US to exploit this investment – and are ready to seize every opportunity that comes our way.” 

Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Growth at Invest NI added: “Invest NI is committed to innovation and welcomes the news that fourteen companies have secured funding as part of the Innovate UK Launchpad for Northern Ireland.  The support across a number of innovative companies within the Life and Health Sciences cluster is to be celebrated and will no doubt help to encourage the creation of good jobs; growth opportunities and higher productivity; outcomes which the Economy Minister outlined in his Economic Vision for Northern Ireland.”

All members in the cluster will also benefit from the support of a network of likeminded innovators. As part of today’s announcement, HIRANI has been competitively appointed as cluster manager and they will develop a supportive network of innovators, helping one another to reach their full potential. Together, this network is hoped to attract national and international investors, and outreach into the global marketplace.

About Innovate UK Launchpads 

For more information, updates and announcements on Innovate UK Launchpads, please visit:  www.iuk.ktn-uk.org/programme/launchpads  

Wider opportunities for support can be found at: 


About Innovate UK 


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is the UK’s innovation agency. It works to create a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations. Its mission is to help companies to grow through their development and commercialisation of new products, processes, and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive, and easy to navigate. 


The Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI) is an alliance of universities, health organisations and other industry bodies, established to drive and support ambitious growth in Northern Ireland’s Life & Health Sciences sector. HIRANI is supported by partners including Invest NI, Public Health Agency, HSC Research & Development Office, the Department of Health (DOH) and Department for the Economy (DfE). 

About Invest NI

As the regional business development agency, Invest NI’s role is to grow the local economy. We do this by helping new and existing businesses to compete internationally, and by attracting new investment to Northern Ireland.  We are part of the Department for the Economy and provide strong government support for business by effectively delivering the Government’s economic development strategies.

Picture Caption: Kerry Curran, Department for the Economy, Brendan McGuigan Head of Life Sciences Invest Northern Ireland and Joann Rhodes CEO Health Innovation Research Alliance NI

Further information: Caroline McEvoy, CCO HIRANI, caroline.mcevoy@hira-ni.com, 07802866221

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