Dr Norman Apsley joined the Northern Ireland Science Park Foundation Limited  in 2000, as its first Chief Executive, on return from England where he was involved for some thirty years in applied research and the commercialisation of research.

Norman was born in Larne, and educated at Larne Grammar School and at the then, New University of Ulster, achieving a First Class Honours Degree in Physics. At the end of this time Norman went to Cambridge University to study amorphous semiconductors under Abe Yoffe at the Cavendish Laboratories. Norman became a Fellow of Jesus College and an SERC Research Fellow.

By 1979, Norman joined RSRE (now Qinetiq), one of Europe’s foremost applied physics laboratories. For ten years, he researched a wide variety of microwave and optical devices, publishing some 70 scientific papers and patents. He became a manager in 1990 and, through that decade, led various teams, ending as Director Electronics and Site Director.

Since 2000, Norman has steered the Northern Ireland Science Park from an initial concept to physical embodiment, headquartered on 25 acres of Queen’s Island, in its award winning Innovation Centre, surrounded by an ever increasing number of bespoke Science Park buildings.
His unpaid professional appointments include membership of certain panels of Matrix, the Northern Ireland Science Industry strategy group and Vice President (Business and Innovation) of the Institute of Physics. He is also a visiting Professor at the University of Ulster.


NISP CONNECT is an independent, non-profit organization fostering entrepreneurship by accelerating the growth of promising technologies and early stage companies. Our core purpose is to connect people, technology and capital to drive innovation and create wealth through building high value IP based companies in Northern Ireland. We want to help to establish a thriving entrepreneurial eco-system where innovation, vision and talent flourish.

A collaboration between Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP), the University of Ulster and Queen’s University, Belfast, NISP CONNECT acts as an ‘honest, neutral broker’ within the region. We provide direct delivery programmes, mentorship/coaching services (Springboard) educational seminars and events geared at developing and encouraging entrepreneurial ideas (Frameworks), talent and leadership (Evening Series). We encourage entrepreneurship in academia (£25k Award) and help companies get early stage funds (halo).


7 comments so far

  1. Elaine Yau on

    Dearest Norman

    It has been…how long….close to 10 years I should think?! I googled you (what else?) and found your blog – amongst many other search engine results – and am so happy to have found you! Do let me know how you are. I am in my 8th year in Washington DC – at the IMF. Enjoying life very much. Hope to hear from you soon, take care – Elaine

  2. Alan Braithwaite on

    Keen to be on the circulation list.

  3. nispconnect on

    Hi Alan
    You are on the NISP CONNECT distribution list. A link is available from the monthly newsletter – we will be sending the summer newsletter out next week.


  4. Jim Gaffey on

    Excellent comments and programs.
    Kind regards,
    Jim Gaffey
    Atlanta, GA

  5. Bob Smith on

    Dr. Apsley,

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and am pleased that it is posted to regularly. Perhaps you can understand my dismay when I found that the NISP website was not updated quite so well. A particular disappointment are the event calendars which seem to indicate that most events stopped last May. I also found the NISP website to be intermittently unavailable. This is not a good thing for a science park that boasts of its connectivity.

    I am a CTO with a Silicon Valley startup. I will be in Belfast this week and look forward to learning all about what NISP has to offer.

  6. Tommy Dickson on

    Hi I took part in a photo competion at the titanic fun day in Aug 2010,it was sponsored by NISP,could you tell me if there was ever a winner of the competion,and were I could view the winning image.


  7. Justin Rush on

    Hi Dr Apsley,
    Just wanted to defend the work of the Science Park and particularly the Connect programme. NI is becoming a real hive for international firms because of the raw talent we have available locally. Although Bob is dissappointed with the NISP website he should know that the org works very hard and provides serious wins. The website maybe needs a bit of a spruce up but the connect sub-site is really excellent and interactive.

    Bob if you are in Belfast and considering setting up, feel free to give me a call and i will gladly give you a feel for the local tech sector.

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