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25th September, 2018

Nine Creative Clusters Announced to Spearhead £80m R&D Investment

Following a rigorous year-long selection process, the Creative Industries Clusters Programmerecently announced the nine creative clusters and a new Policy and Evidence Centre that will build on the UK’s leading position in the Creative Industries bringing together world-class talent with companies from across the four nations of the UK.

From screen industries and digital storytelling to fashion and videogames, some of the UK’s best performing and world renowned creative businesses are to receive a major boost from investments announced today by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (see ref 1).

The unprecedented investment offers support to the UK’s globally important creative industries, which are already worth over £92 billion to the UK economy and export an estimated £46 billion in goods and services each year (see ref 2).The aim is to create jobs and drive the creation of companies, products and experiences that can be marketed around the world, significantly contributing to UK economic growth both regionally and nationally.

The Creative Industries Clusters Programme is part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy (see ref 3), and comprises nine creative clusters and a new Policy and Evidence Centre. The Programme will bring together world-class research talent with companies and organisations from across the UK’s four nations in a first-of-its kind research and development investment.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said:

“Combining world-class arts and humanities researchers with our globally renowned creative industries will underpin growth in this vibrant and rapidly expanding sector within the UK economy.

“These pioneering partnerships between industry and universities are providing a huge vote of confidence for a sector that is vital to the future prosperity of the UK.”

Each of the nine clusters emerged from an open, rigorous and peer-reviewed selection process that began a year ago. They bring together a range of educational and commercial partners to tackle unique R&D challenges identified by a specific area of industry. The clusters span the UK: from Bristol and Bath, Yorkshire and the Humber and South Wales to Edinburgh, Dundee, Belfast, and the south east of England (see ref 4).

The funded projects will accelerate growth in a range of creative sectors including the broadcast and screen industries, fashion textiles and technology, fashion design innovation, data and design, animation and videogames, digital storytelling and creative audiovisual.

In parallel, this investment also establishes a new Policy and Evidence CentreThe Centre will address the fact that while the national economic strength of the UK’s creative industries is unquestioned, gaps in the evidence base still exist. Led by global innovation foundation Nesta (see ref 5), with university partners across the UK, the new centre will connect stakeholders within the sector, research communities, and policy makers.  It will develop independent evidence that will inform decision-making across the creative industries and underpin future policy decisions.

The nine Creative clusters will be showcased at the Beyond Conference, which will mark the start of a new chapter in the UK’s creative industries. Exploring the sector’s future and potential to grow, innovate, and lead as well as learn from its global partners and competitors.

The Beyond conference will take place on Tuesday 13 November 2018 at Milton Court, Barbican in London, with tickets going on sale in mid-September, visit for more information.

For further information about the Creative Industries Clusters Programme please contact: Mike Collins, Head of Communications at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, on

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