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Creative Industries Clusters Programme launched by Greg Clark at Bazalgette Review

Date: 22/09/2017

Secretary of State Greg Clark today officially launched the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s  (AHRC) Creative Industries Clusters Programme, a major new project designed to create a step-change in collaboration between the country’s internationally-renowned creative industries and universities across the UK. 

Greg Clarke MP
Sir Peter Bazalgette. Credit: Financial Times

A record £80m-plus is being invested to help catalyse economic growth and provide the skills needed for the jobs of the future. The Programme, which starts in 2018, will find innovative ways to identify opportunities for new products and services at an early stage and get them on the road to success.

Led by the AHRC, the Programme will support eight Research and Development (R&D) Partnerships between industry and a group of universities to respond to challenges identified by the creative industries in their cluster.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, spoke at the unveiling of the industry-led review of the creative industries chaired by Sir Peter Bazalgette today. He said: “The UK’s booming creative industries contribute nearly £90 billion to the economy and employ more than two million people.

“The £80 million Creative Industries Clusters Programme being launched today will deliver a further boost to our creative industries, helping to spread prosperity and grow the creative skills base across the UK.”

In the review Sir Peter Bazalgette, current Executive Chairman of ITV, outlined key recommendations for how the creative industries can underpin the UK’s future growth by developing new technologies, capitalising on intellectual property (IP) rights and growing talent.

Sir Peter’s key recommendation was to foster clusters of creative industries that support regional growth across the UK and his report backed the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, stating: “These R&D initiatives will be awarded through a rigorous process led by the AHRC and will act as focal points for work to grow and strengthen the creative economy wherever they are located. I strongly endorse the pioneering of this approach.”

The R&D Partnerships will support ground-breaking innovation by companies of all sizes – from micro-businesses and start-ups to multinational corporations – so that they can prosper in the UK, ensuring this country benefits from their success and building on its global reputation as one of the world’s leading engines of creativity. 

In parallel, a national Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre will be established to produce independent evidence and analysis for the industry and for policy-makers. The Centre will produce high-quality understanding of the creative industries, including how they are working together in clusters and across the wider economy, so that future policy and strategy can be informed by world-class insights to further accentuate success.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “From film, TV and games to design, architecture and fashion, the UK has one of the world’s most powerful, innovative and fastest growing creative economies. The creative industries are essential to the UK’s future prosperity.

“We welcome the support today from both Greg Clark and Sir Peter Bazalgette and the recognition of the vital role that research plays in innovation and generating commercial opportunities for the UK.

“The Creative Industries Clusters Programme will be the largest ever single investment in arts and humanities-led research and innovation.  The Programme will support long-term growth by producing a step-change in the development of innovative new products and services, the supply of high-value skills and the creation of new jobs.”

How to be part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme

Creative organisations can get involved in a number of ways: they can partner with universities to host an R&D Partnership, or simply work with the cluster once they are launched in 2018.

In October, we are hosting events across the UK for anyone who would like to know more about the Programme and potentially participating. These will include bid writing workshops for those universities and creative organisations interested in hosting a regional cluster.

The call for proposals to host the Policy and Evidence Centre will go live in  November.


Notes to editors

For further press information please contact:

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) builds on the UK’s world-class research base and delivers the innovation and skills that business needs to transform existing industries and create new ones. It accelerates commercial exploitation of the most exciting technologies and services the UK has to offer the world to ensure that investment in science and research truly delivers economic impact, jobs and growth right across the country. The ISCF is delivered by Innovate UK and Research Councils UK, and eventually UK Research and Innovation, the single voice for the UK’s research and innovation landscape.

About the Arts and Humanities Research Council

The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

You can find out more information via www.ahrc.ac.uk  or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council, or Instagram at @ahrcpress.

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