Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme Partners on TARGET to deliver state-of –the –art manufacturing supports to local businesses


On the picture:

Seated (L-R):

Dympna McCarron (Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre); Asa Ericson (Lulea Technical University Sweden); Wei Deng Solvang (Narvik University College, Norway)

Standing (L-R)

Gudmundur Oddson (University of Iceland); Padraig McNamee (SWC); Malachy McAleer (SWC); Sakari Pieska (Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland); Liam Kiely (Sligo Local Enterprise Office)

Representatives from partner organisations across the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme descended on Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh (N Ireland) recently to discuss the implementation of the newly approved TARGET Programme. The TARGET Programme has as its objective to deliver state-of-the-art manufacturing supports to local businesses and is funded under the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme 2014-2020. Grant assistance is received through the European Regional Development Fund and managed through the Special EU Programmes Body.

The two day event bought together delegates from Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland; Narvik University, Norway; Lulea University of Technology, Sweden, University of Iceland; Sligo Local Enterprise Office; Cavan Local Enterprise Office and Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre, at the home of lead partner South West College, in Enniskillen.

Manufacturing companies in the Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) Region face considerable challenges in terms of retaining competitiveness, adopting new technology and processes and their capacity to innovate. Malachy McAleer, Director of South West College explained that “the aim of this project is to develop the tools to allow manufacturing companies in the NPA Region to adapt and embrace the next generation of technology and innovation”. He described how “each of the partner organisations have specialist skill sets focused on ensuring that the local and regional manufacturing base will be globally competitive and innovative through the utilisation of the advanced technology and digital manufacturing techniques available through the partnership”.

Professor Wei Deng Solvang from Narvik University College told the delegates how “the key to the next generation of manufacturing in the NPA regions is the targeted application of innovation and the embracing of new processes and practices such as design, product development, prototyping, automation, electronics, data communication, ICT and quality management”. Professor Solvang went on to explain how “this then needs to be aligned with key market analysis skills such as trending, testing and integrating products into a whole cycle of service delivery so as to build the competitive advantage and value proposition of manufacturing firms. The key is to converge all of these technologies to produce an integrated, automated and highly efficient manufacturing environment. Simply stated, this is how we aim to put the knowledge economy into manufacturing”.

Associate Professor Gabor Sziebig, described how “the project results will reduce the competitive and knowledge gap of participating manufacturing companies that participate in the programme through the introduction of new processes, techniques, knowledge and skills”. He went on to say that “the programme will demonstrate the benefits to be gained through the application of these supports and position NPA Manufacturing industries as leaders in their sector thereby building sustainable competitive advantage”.

This €2.1 million project will run for 36 months.

For further information contact:

Dympna McCarron

Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre, Dublin Road, Cavan

T:+353 49 4377277 /

Short introduction of the partners, who are involved in the Northern Periphery Project:

clip_image001 South West College

South West College operates from four campuses in Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh In Northern Ireland and covers the geographical area of counties Tyrone and Fermanagh.

South West College plays a leadership role in Ireland in terms of innovation work and supporting industry, curriculum development and training. SWC is at the cutting edge of provision of training, research and development and has won numerous national and international awards in recognition of its work. The College received an Outstanding Grade 1 inspection result in 2014.

The College has a continual focus on meeting the ever changing needs of the region’s economy and has invested in “business focused innovation centres” to ensure that engagement with industry is relevant and focused and that the curriculum offer is fit for purpose. The College’s Innovation centres provide the principal interface with the business community and are:

  • STEM Centre focusing on curriculum development and teaching and learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • CREST Centre (Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) provides industry R&D support and demonstration and testing facilities for new renewable energy products and sustainable technologies
  • IMAGE Centre creative industries studio
  • IDEA Centre facilitating product design and prototyping laboratory
  • Innotech Centre facilitating research and development.

South West College has considerable experience of managing and participating in large projects funded by EU Structural Funds and other funding sources. Projects have been in the areas of research, technical, economic development, training and social inclusion and were at regional, national and transnational levels with a range of public sector, academic and industry partners.

For further information please contact:

clip_image003 Centria University of Applied Science

Centria University of Applied Sciences is a multidisciplinary, dynamic and inter­national higher education institution and R&D institution. Situated in Western Finland, Centria has three campuses – Kokkola, Ylivieska and Pietarsaari – located on the Ostrobothnian plain. Centria Research and Development is the R&D unit of Centria University of Applied Sciences.

The main function of Centria’s research and development centre is to create possibilities for the development of the region’s enterprises and communities. Centria R&D has the use of the knowhow of the whole staff, the laboratory services and a large cohort of students, who significantly complement the experts’ work contribution to the region’s enterprises. Annually Centria participates in more than 100 separate R&D-projects either as lead partner or as a partner. The annual volume of R&D works has been around €6-7million. Centria also has exchange agreements over 100 partner institutions around the world. One of Centria’s three main focus areas is “Industrial processes and manufacturing technology”.

Further information is available at:

clip_image005 Luleå University of Technology

Luleå University of Technology (LTU) is a global university, which attracts students and researchers from all corners of the world. Partnerships are formed with companies and organisations, regionally, nationally and internationally.

LTU offers education at basic and advanced level within the areas of technology, economy, social sciences, language, humanities, music, media, theatre and welfare. Research is mainly conducted in joint academia-industry projects and within applied technical areas, such as effective innovation and organisation and enabling ICT.

LTU is also considered to be an important actor in facilitating regional knowledge exchange and growth. LTU’s strategy is to contribute to competitiveness and attractiveness, through research and education in industries that are characterized by creativity, innovation, initiative and responsibility. Alongside the development of the basic industries, the economic growth in the northern region of Sweden is highly dependent on SMEs starting new businesses and finding new markets. Project focus is to support SME possibilities to improve and strengthen their manufacturing and product development processes.

LTU has participated in 96 projects financed by ERDF (Objective 2, Interreg IV A North, Interreg IV B Northern Periphery Programme and Interreg IV B Baltic Sea Region) during the programme period 2007 – 2013.

Further information is available at:

clip_image007 Narvik University College

Narvik University College (NUC) is a leading centre in northern Scandinavia in higher education and knowledge dissemination. It is also the only technological higher education provider in Northern Norway. NUC performs research and industrial project in relation to science and technology specially focused on applied engineering in the fields of manufacturing and production management, civil engineering, infrastructure and operations.

Narvik University College was founded in 1994 when the three local institutions for higher education were joined together. Narvik University College offers both bachelor and master programmes.

NUC has extensive experience of international projects in manufacturing engineering and management. It has expertise in both public and private funded research projects (i.e., InterReg, NPA and other EU funding schemes). Some project examples are “DIM- Digital Integrated Manufacturing”, “SMaE – Sustainable Manufacturing and Engineering” and “BANOROB – Bosnian-Norwegian research based innovation for development of new, environmentally friendly, competitive robot technology for selected target groups”. NUC has been both lead partner and project partner in such large projects.

Further information is available at:

clip_image009 Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre &

clip_image011Local Enterprise Office Cavan

The expressed aim of Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre (CITC) is to facilitate and support enterprise and economic development in the central border area of Ireland through the promotion of best practice in innovation, and the delivery of entrepreneurial development and capability enhancement programmes with a particular focus on training in business and the application of information and communications technology and the provision of R&D supports.

The Cavan Local Enterprise Office (LEO) serves as a “first stop shop” to provide support and services for those looking to start, grow, and develop a business in Cavan. The office also acts as an information source and referral point for all state enterprise agencies and for other initiatives, providing information on enterprise incentives, business structures, taxation, regulatory obligations, workspace, market research, planning etc.

Both Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre and Local Enterprise Office, Cavan have extensive project management experience in delivering cross border projects in the border counties of Ireland.. CITC in particular delivers training and education supports to adult learners which come from a variety of companies in the border region. Recruitment of suitable beneficiaries, delivering tailored programmes, organising networking events and the communication and evaluation of same, are all areas where the organisation has built significant expertise over the last number of years.

CITC and LEO Cavan have been involved in a number of European Funded Programmes including:

HATCH Project – Developed in association with Irish Central Border Area Network, Local Enterprise Office, Cavan, South West College and Business Institute, University of Ulster, to deliver third level accredited training and networking opportunities to those in the Construction & Related Sectors, Female Entrepreneurs and Foreign Nationals. This is an INTERREG 1VA initiative which has received €1m funding.

CREST Project- The Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies (CREST) is an innovative cross-border initiative to deliver a programme of technology development for SME’s in the areas of renewable energy products and sustainable technologies. The project comprises a partnership consisting of South West College, (Lead Partner), Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre, IT Sligo and Dumfries and Galloway College.  This programme received £3 million in funding.

Harnessing Natural Resources Project (HNR). Funding of €3.064 million for this cross border initiative was approved under the INTERREG IVA Programme. The Harnessing Natural Resources (HNR) project is an integrated strategic proposal designed to stimulate rural regeneration through the implementation of 26 projects throughput Counties Cavan, Fermanagh & Leitrim, incorporating rural tourism and business infrastructure.

West Cavan – West Fermanagh Social, Community and Enterprise Regeneration Project : This Project has received funding approval of €0.39m from the International Fund for Ireland under the Building Foundations Programme. This project aimed to support enterprise and local social & economic development in the area through the provision of business advice; training/mentoring; promotion of positive community relations; raising awareness of cultural diversity; creation of strategic partnerships; and development of a shared vision for the future development of the area.

Further information is available at: and

imageUniversity of Iceland

The School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (SENS) has a strong interdisciplinary scientific team with experience from international R&D and innovation projects. SENS is specially focused on applied engineering in the fields of manufacturing and production management, and operations. SENS has very good connections to SME´s in the manufacturing industry .

The University of Iceland (UoI) has participated in many international cooperation projects (FP6, FP7, CIP, Civil Protection Financial Instrument, NPP, ERASMUS, NIH, DOE, H2020, etc).  The University has a central Research and Innovation office that assists staff with pre- and post award related issues.  SENS has the largest collection of international projects from within the University of Iceland.  The SENS Research office is experienced in handling all EU Framework Programmes and other international funds.  SENS had 17 projects in FP6, over 30 projects in FP7  SENS has been involved in international projects both as a partner and as Coordinator/PI/Lead partner.  Previous NPA projects at SENS include OCTES and SMART LABELS.

Further information is available at:



clip_image014Local Enterprise Office (LEO)

Local Enterprise Office(LEO) Sligo was established in 2014 as part of a nationwide network of LEOs. The LEO acts is a first stop shop to provide support and services to help start, grow and develop small businesses in Sligo. LEO Sligo provides financial supports, business skills training, & business mentoring for small businesses in County Sligo. Any business employing less than ten people in County Sligo can arrange to meet a member of the team to discuss their business and receive information on how the LEO may be able to assist them in either the establishment or development of their business.  The LEO is also a single point of contact through which all information on State supports for small and micro business can be accessed. LEO Sligo enhances the local authorities wider aim to promote economic development in County Sligo.The LEO’s are part of and operate under the guidance of the Local Authority and are funded by the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation in Ireland

Further information is available at





On the picture:

Seated (L-R): John Moore, (SWC); Malachy McAleer (SWC); Edel McCusker (SWC)

Standing (L-R)

Gudmundur Oddson (University of Iceland); Padraig McNamee (SWC); Johann Holmqvist (Lulea Technical University Sweden); Sharon McSorley (SWC); Enda Candon (First Western, Sligo) Asa Ericson (Lulea Technical University Sweden); Gabor Sziebig (Narvik University College, Norway) Linda Clarke (SWC); Sakari Pieska (Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland); Wei Deng Solvang (Narvik University College, Norway); Mika Kumara  (Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland); Liam Kiely (Sligo Local Enterprise Office); Dympna McCarron (Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre)