Bryden Centre

Sector: Energy



Advanced Marine & Bio-Energy Research

What is The Bryden Centre?

The Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy Research is an industrial doctoral research centre focusing on supporting the development of the renewable energy sector. Marine and Bio-Energy are the main focus of the centre, but we have expertise on all aspects of green energy generation where a major impact can be made on the region. The Bryden Centre is a cross border ‘virtual centre of competence’ that actively supports industry-led collaborative research on an inter-regional basis. The Centre is funded by the EU’s INTERREG VA and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The Bryden Centre, led by Queen’s University was established in June 2017 following an award of €9,367,401. The partners involve five higher education and research Institutions, which along with Queen’s University are Letterkenny Institute of Technology, University of the Highlands and Islands, Ulster University and the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute. Two local authority partners are involved: Donegal County Council and Dumfries and Galloway County Council. The Bryden Centre aims to promote economic growth, social and environmental benefits as well as territorial cohesion across the Interreg area of the border counties of Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Western Scotland.

The Bryden Centre has currently recruited 31 PhD students and five post-doctoral researchers located in the partner institutes across the inter-regional area. The students and researchers work on a range of projects directly focused on challenges in the renewable energy sector. All students work directly with industry and other stakeholders to produce industrially relevant research with the potential for commercial exploitation and resulting economic growth within the region.

Further information about the Bryden Centre can be found on our website

Why was it created?

The conception of the project was driven by several challenges that have prevented regional industry from fully capitalising on the opportunities for development and installation of renewable energy generation. Foremost among these is the profile of the regional industry, with companies typically being small- or micro-sized enterprises. As is true for all industries, small enterprises in the renewables sector struggle to dedicate the resource needed to innovate. This is exacerbated by a lack of funding for research and innovation that would allow industry and research partners from across the region to collaborate on early-stage innovative concepts. In addition, there is a recognised gap between outcomes from existing research projects and commercialisation, ‘the valley of death’, that is indicative of industry and University partnerships not maximising the outputs of early stage collaborations. The final aspect of the regional perspective is a lack of critical mass of highly-qualified scientists and engineers capable of translating research into commercial success within these companies. Addressing these challenges to drive economic growth was the main rationale behind the development of the Bryden Centre project.

What are you most proud of?

The depth of engagement with key industry and other stakeholders in the sector. This is essential if we are to successfully tackle some of the major technical, economic and environmental challenges that need to be overcome. Success will enable greater uptake of these essential technologies to underpin sustainability in the region.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology has a regional and economic development role and our partnership as part of the Bryden Centre will provide opportunities to utilise high-quality facilities, increase research capacity and to build a network of potential technology partners for the emerging renewable sector in the region.

The Bryden Centre at Letterkenny Institute of Technology currently has a regional manager, post-doctoral researchers, a research/technical assistant and administrative support staff. Academic staff from across the Institute support the PhD students. Our team focus on research projects that can have a significant impact to the generation of a green economy in the north west region.

What are your aspirations for the business?

We want to make a real difference at all levels of the regional economy, promoting growth, driving up employment while improving the environment and achieving a sustainable economy.