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Image caption The BT Ireland Innovation Centre will look at artificial intelligence, data analytics and cyber security

Telecommunications giant BT has opened a new innovation centre in Belfast that will cost almost £29m over the next five years.

It is a joint research project between BT, which employs almost 3,500 people in NI, and Ulster University.

The BT Ireland Innovation Centre will also create 50 graduate jobs at BT and 25 research posts at the university.

The research carried out at the centre will include artificial intelligence, data analytics and cyber security.

Invest NI has offered support of £9m towards the research and development programme.

It says the project will generate £1.4m a year in salaries for the Northern Ireland economy.

BT’s Howard Watson, said: “Our new innovation centre will operate alongside our existing Belfast Global Development Centre, the BT Labs in Suffolk, and our global network of technology scouts to further strengthen our research and innovation capability, bringing together industrial engineers and university researchers.”

Invest NI’s chief executive, Alastair Hamilton, said “This new innovation centre in Belfast is a tremendous endorsement of BT’s continued commitment to Northern Ireland and a reflection of the availability of highly-skilled people we have here.”

Ulster University Vice-Chancellor Prof Paddy Nixon said: “Through our research and skilled graduate talent we are proud to support indigenous industry and the region’s ability to attract foreign direct investment.”

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