Queen’s University Belfast (informally Queen’s or QUB) is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The university received its charter in 1845 as “Queen’s College, Belfast” and opened four years later.
Queen’s offers academic degrees at various levels, with approximately 300 degree programmes available. The current president and vice-chancellor is Ian Greer. The annual income of the institution for 2019–20 was £400 million of which £88.7 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £372.7 million.
Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group of research intensive universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, Universities UK and Universities Ireland. The university is associated with two Nobel laureates and one Turing Award laureate.
Queen’s University Belfast has roots in the Belfast Academical Institution, which was founded in 1810 and which remains as the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. The present university was first chartered as “Queen’s College, Belfast” in 1845, when it was associated with the simultaneously founded Queen’s College, Cork, and Queen’s College, Galway, as part of the Queen’s University of Ireland – founded to encourage higher education for Catholics and Presbyterians, as a counterpart to Trinity College, Dublin, then an almost exclusively Anglican institution. Queen’s College, Belfast, opened in 1849. Its main building, the Lanyon Building, was designed by the English-born architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. At its opening, it had 23 professors and 195 students. Some early students at Queen’s University Belfast took University of London examinations.
The Irish Universities Act, 1908 dissolved the Royal University of Ireland, which had replaced the Queen’s University of Ireland in 1879, and created two separate universities: the current National University of Ireland and Queen’s University of Belfast.
The university was one of only eight United Kingdom universities to hold a parliamentary seat in the House of Commons at Westminster until such representation was abolished in 1950. The university was also represented in the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1920 to 1968, when graduates elected four members.
On 20 June 2006, the university announced a £259 million investment programme focusing on facilities, recruitment and research. One of the outcomes of this investment has been a new university library; the McClay library was designed by Boston-based architects Sheply, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbott, working in association with Belfast architects, Robinson Patterson Partnership, and opened in July 2009. The building has been named in honour of Sir Allen McClay, a major benefactor of Queen’s University and of the Library.
In June 2010, the university announced the launch of a £7.5m Ansin international research hub with Seagate Technology.
Queen’s is one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland, with a total workforce of 3,903, of whom 2,414 were members of academic, academic-related and research staff and 1,489 were administrative employees.
In addition to the main campus on the southern fringes of Belfast city centre, the university has two associated university colleges, St Mary’s and Stranmillis located in the west and south-west of the city respectively. These colleges offer teacher training for those who wish to pursue teaching careers and a range of degree courses, all of which are centred around a liberal arts core.
While the university refers to its main site as a campus, the university’s buildings are in fact spread over a number of public streets in South Belfast, primarily, University Road, University Square, University Street, Malone Road and Stranmillis Road, with other departments located further afield such as in Titanic Quarter and Portaferry.