3 June 2015

  |  CBI Updates Team


Sharing resources - Seagate and Queen's University Belfast

Seagate Technology, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hard disc drives, collaborated with Queen’s University Belfast to set up ANSIN - a new research centre.

Sharing resources - Seagate and Queen's University Belfast

Seagate Technology employs over 1,300 people at its Springtown facility in Northern Ireland where it produces read/write heads and conducts R&D. In 2010 Seagate provided £7.5m worth of state of the art equipment to Queen’s University, Belfast, to help set up ANSIN, a centre within the university, together with business development funding and support for a £1.7m collaborative research project.

The main objectives were:

*  for ANSIN to act as a hub for future collaboration with Seagate’s R&D.

*  for the centre to develop further non-competitive collaborations in areas outside data storage and so build activity on advanced materials with wider reach and aligned with Seagate’s broader interests.

Benefits for both sides have included:

*  opportunities to influence and benefit from European research funding streams

*  the establishment of a Centre for Doctoral Training with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for Employment and Learning of Northern Ireland together with Seagate and other industry partners.

An additional benefit for Seagate and the wider society is support for the university as a source of highly educated, relevant and employable PhDs in science and technology.

Brendan Lafferty, R&D Director, Seagate Technology said:

“Seagate Technology believe that interactions with our academic partners provide a fantastic mechanism to develop the technological breakthroughs and skilled staff required to undertake research that could contribute towards our next generation products.”

Cathy Hill (pictured above) completed a PhD at ANSIN in 2014 supervised by the unit’s director Robert Bowman on ultra-thin shielding materials for magnetic recording heads.  The layers of different materials are each only a few billionths of a metre thick.

Cathy was then recruited as an R&D scientist by Seagate, where she is successfully applying her knowledge to industrial research projects.

Brendan Lafferty commented:

“In addition to project based learning, we also see our close collaboration with Queen’s and ANSIN as a key enabler for recruitment of highly skilled and directly relevant PhDs, of which this is a good example.”

Professor Robert Bowman, Director of the Centre for Nanostructured Media at Queen’s, added:

“ANSIN is creating new collaborations in the UK and EU that pick up major institutional themes of research recognition and impact, sustainability and internationalisation.”