Northern Ireland's two universities are key partners in a new science park that aims to help create more than 3,000 new jobs over the next decade.
The Pounds 10 million Northern Ireland science park, part of chancellor Gordon Brown's newly announced package of economic initiatives for the province, plans to commercialise research from the Queen's University, Belfast, and Ulster University.
Gerry McKenna, vice-chancellor of UU, said the development "marked a new level of partnership between Northern Ireland's two universities and industrial and commercial life in the province".
The science park's main site will be in Belfast, but Professor McKenna said UU was very mindful of the need to ensure that all of Northern Ireland benefited.
George Bain, vice-chancellor of Queen's, said he was delighted that the proposal, first put forward by the university six years ago, had now been realised.
Northern Ireland minister Adam Ingram said the strong focus on research and development, and the prospect of university spin-off companies, would help encourage young people to stay in the province.
"The science park will encourage the formation of technology- based businesses and foster growth in research, design and development through the commercial application of the technical resources generated in the universities and businesses," he said.