Biomedical Sciences Research Institute

Support Programme for University Research (SPUR)

The Northern Ireland Support Programme for University Research (SPUR) is a public-private partnership (PPP) financial framework initiative which is investing up to £40m in the research infrastructure at the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast over a four-year period (2000-2004).

The investment was made on a competitive basis under the auspices of the Northern Ireland Higher Education Council (NIHEC), assisted by an international panel of experts chaired by Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, Chairman of NIHEC.

The main aim of SPUR is to enhance the strategic approach taken by the two Northern Ireland universities to the development of their research capacity, and strengthen their research base, in particular, to increase the volume of research operating at the highest international standard.

SPUR will enable the two Northern Ireland universities to:-

- undertake a planned approach to the development of their existing capacity, in particular increasing the number of research centres capable of being assessed at 5 or 5* in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE);
- attract high quality researchers in the fields of science and technology, the humanities and social sciences and to develop infrastructural capacity to support research at the highest levels;
- foster an interdisciplinary approach to research;
- extend the range and scope of collaboration with other institutions, with business and with other research interests within Ireland or further afield.