Overview:The CREST Centre is the only dedicated surface coatings laboratory on the Island of Ireland. It exists to serve the SMART economy by means of translating in-house fundamental knowledge from the bench-top to the market. This is particularly relevant based on the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 published by Colin Hunt (January 2011), which emphasise that the ‘Higher education research will need to connect to enterprise and society in new and imaginative ways to harness its potential for economic and social well-being, including a more effective approach to knowledge transfer and commercialisation’. The CREST model (see below) relies on an expert and professional coatings consultancy service to front-face its activity. Companies with a commitment to develop an innovative technical capability, recognise the capabilities in the Centre and in time view the Centre as an extension of its own R&D capability.