Six research projects are to benefit from a £40 million investment under the government's Support Programme for University Research in Northern Ireland.
Earlier this year, Sean Farren, minister for higher and further education, pledged £20 million over the next four years based on match funding. An independent panel of international experts has chosen six out of 15 proposals - four at Queen's University, Belfast, and two at Ulster University.
Queen's will get £9 million for an international research centre for experimental physics; £5 million for an institute of governance, public policy and social research; and £4.5 million each for a virtual engineering centre and sonic arts research centre. Ulster will receive £14 million for a centre for molecular biosciences, and £3 million for an academy for Irish cultural heritage.
George Bain, vice-chancellor of Queen's, said: "This initiative will put Northern Ireland in the premier league in areas of research that are crucial for economic regeneration."