£80m research investment promises to boost UK’s creative industries

£80m research investment promises to boost UK’s creative industries

£80m has been invested to develop nine new creative hubs across the UK, in Bristol, Leeds, London, York, Cardiff, Belfast, Dundee and Edinburgh, in a programme involving brands such as Audible.

Led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council within UKRI, the £80m "first-of-its-kind" investment will see some of the UK's best performing creative businesses come together with researchers and organisations to explore new ways of enhancing their sectors.

With the overall aim of driving the creation of jobs and the creation of companies, products and experiences that can be marketed around the world, the investment comprises nine creative clusters across the UK and a new Policy and Evidence Centre, led by thinktank Nesta in partnership with 13 universities.

The centre will "develop independent evidence that will inform decision-making across the creative industries and underpin future policy decisions", according to the joint press notice circulated by the for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, while companies involved in the programme include the likes of Audible, Aardman, Burberry and Sony.

The ‘Creative Industries Clusters’ in the Bristol and Bath division will see Audible collaborating with the BBC and RSC, among other companies, focusing on the creation of jobs, companies and products in the region’s screen and performance industries by helping them adapt to emerging technologies.

Each of the clusters emerged from “an open, rigorous and peer-reviewed selection”, a government spokesperson said, from a process that began a year ago. The clusters bring together a range of educational and commercial partners to tackle “unique” research and development challenges identified by a specific area of industry.

Business secretary Greg Clark said: “The creative industries are a fantastic British success story creating millions of jobs and business opportunities across the country.  The sector currently contributes £92 billion a year to our economy and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are investing further to enable the sector to keep on growing and bringing the benefits to all corners of the United Kingdom.”

Culture secretary Jeremy Wright said: "Britain’s creative industries are an economic and cultural powerhouse and the Creative Clusters will ensure they continue to thrive in different regions across the country.

"These partnerships between business, academia and industry will encourage the use of future technology to develop new products and experiences, and boost employment opportunities across the breadth of the UK."

Hasan Bakhshi, director of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, commented that while the UK’s creative organisations had enjoyed “a stellar growth performance in recent years”, more needed to be done to “navigate the economic uncertainties ahead”.

“This is where the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre will step in, producing research and formulating policies to support the sector's future growth," he said.