Creative industries partnership 'can generate £6 billion and create 3,000 jobs'

Professor Ian Greer (Queen’s University) and Professor Paddy Nixon (Ulster University) with UU student Sarah Sweeney at the launch of the creative industries partnership
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A NEW collaboration in the creative industries sector in Northern Ireland has the potential to generate £6 billion and create 3,000 jobs over the next five years, its partners claim.

And the Future Screens NI initiative, which links the private sector and academia, has been kick-started with a £13 million cash injection - the largest-ever single investment in the creative industries in the north.

Future Screens, a collaboration between Ulster University, Queen's University and local industry partners, has been established to accelerate growth through new product development, services and high value skills for jobs in a flourishing sector.

Initially funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the academic collaboration is also behind significant project proposals for the Belfast Region City Deal.

Future Screens NI will deliver expert technical skills, opportunity and growth across film and broadcast, animation, games and immersive technologies and industries.

Creative companies will also develop strategies to collaborate, grow productivity and maximise their global potential, delivering new jobs and a £400 million increase in GVA to boost the local economy.

Addressing challenges and building on existing strengths in creative industries in the north, areas of focus will include narrative and storytelling in digital content, applications of VR/AR in health, tourism and engineering, development of a games nexus, expanding capacity for large scale film and TV production and enhancing the high level skills pipeline in 2D and 3D animation.

Professor Paddy Nixon, vice-chancellor of Ulster University, said: “Future Screens NI is a unique opportunity to bring together our creativity with the expertise of industry partners to create a step change in the growth of a thriving sector with huge potential for our economy.

"The partnership will transform innovation and job creation across a range of exciting disciplines; and with creative industries hubs in Belfast, Newry, Coleraine and Derry, the impact will be region wide.

"This welcome and unprecedented level of investment recognises how powerfully our two local universities underpin economic growth, matching our talents to high growth sectors.”

Professor Ian Greer, president and vice-chancellor of Queen's University, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with our colleagues at Ulster University and our key creative industries partners, who are crucial to the creative economy in the region, on this timely project supported by the AHRC.

“This project brings together a wide range of complementary disciplines at both institutions in areas which are both industry-facing and world-leading in terms of their research and impact.

"Future Screens NI will provide a unique opportunity to grow the creative sector in Northern Ireland, nurturing the development of our SMEs, enhancing our economic prosperity, and celebrating the creative talents of our region and our local people.”

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