A VENTURE between Queen's University, Belfast and University College, Cork has been hailed as a landmark for north-south cooperation in Ireland.
The initiative, also involving shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, could provide a model for future cross-border links in the context of an all-island political settlement.
The groups involved are to cooperate in a new concept for offshore engineering being developed at the shipbuilders, to allow cost-effective exploration of oil and gas fields in harsh and deepwater locations.
If successful, the project could lead to up to 5,000 jobs over the next five years. On a historic visit to the shipyard in largely Protestant east Belfast, Ireland's minister for the marine, Michael Woods, said it was a landmark initiative.