Northern Ireland's two universities are lobbying industry to support their fight for a restoration of Pounds 4 million research funding.
The special regional development funding has been clawed back by the Northern Ireland Office because of the resumption of violence in the province, which has led to the security budget being increased by Pounds 120 million over the next three years.
Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University fear the move will hit both academic posts and local job creation. They face losing another Pounds 6 million in each of the two following years, and argue that this will have a serious knock-on effect, since the development funding has helped generate at least as much again in research funds from other sources.
Eric Beatty, acting director of the research office and director of the Northern Ireland technology centre at Queen's, said each university had taken on about 100 staff through the development funding.