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Belfast Region City Deal

Investment in Innovation and Digital Capabilities

  • Investment in Innovation and Digital Capabilities

    The Belfast Region requires a catalyst that will drive forward investment in research and development and help embed a culture of innovation to act as a driver for increased productivity.

    Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University have collaborated extensively to develop proposals for global centres of innovation excellence in key growth sectors in which world-leading expertise in our universities can be leveraged by businesses to create breakthrough technologies, products and services.

    This will be enabled through:

    • digital partnerships
    • technology testbeds
    • digital infrastructure
    • an innovators’ network

    They will connect and enable the centres of excellence and reach out across the region to build the capacity in indigenous businesses to fully engage in the Knowledge Economy. To read about innovation projects, go to:


  • Digital Futures

    We’re working with Belfast Metropolitan College (link opens in new window), South Eastern Regional College (link opens in new window) and Southern Regional College (link opens in new window) to provide opportunities for graduates to be part of the region’s growing digital sector. Developed by Belfast Region City Deal partners with government and industry, Digital Futures is designed to deliver a rapid response to the pandemic’s economic impact. Read more about Digital Futures (link opens in new window)

  • The Regional Innovators' Network

    A network of state of the art and digitally advanced innovation spaces across the Belfast Region. The network will offer technologists, local businesses and local communities the space and equipment to pursue innovation projects at small and medium scale. It will provide a platform for training and education for new economy skills and digitally enabled design.

  • The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC)

    AMIC is aimed at securing Northern Ireland’s manufacturing future and will be a springboard for manufacturing innovation in Northern Ireland.

    This will operate at the interface between academia and industry; accelerating new technology developments through the innovation phase and ensuring that real-world industrial challenges based on market need are solved through cutting-edge research.

  • The Centre for Digital HealthCare Technology (CDHT)

    Ulster University will create a high visibility, high quality centre for digital technology and associated living labs in the areas of cardiology, diabetes, respiratory and stroke.

    The Centre for Digital Healthcare Technology will provide a world-class space for academia, industry and clinicians to come together to innovate and boost the productivity of the Life and Health Sciences sector, as well as medical device and related sector activity in Northern Ireland.

  • The Digital and Innovation Platform and Partnership (DIPP)

    This is a shared physical and digital environment where the academic research community, tech entrepreneurs and industrial partners will come together to address key challenges in business and society through the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) and data science. 

    A common platform to help govern, share expertise, resources and data capabilities across City Deal projects. It is a region-wide partnership facilitating collaborations, utilising challenge funding to encourage businesses to test products in a cost-effective, secure and supported environment.

  • The Global Innovation Institute (GII)

    This is a Queen’s University led cross-disciplinary digital innovation hub that builds on the momentum of the world-class ECIT (Institute of Electronics, Communications & Information Technology) facility that has already succeeded in putting Belfast on the map in terms of digital innovation.

    Global Innovation Institute (GII) will be a nexus for co-innovation between researchers and industry in data security, connectivity and analytics. It will be a place where local and global companies, entrepreneurs and researchers will come together in a multi-disciplinary innovation environment. As we are faced with the data deluge in our increasingly connected world, the secure, connected intelligence capabilities of the GII will become ever more critical.

  • The Infrastructure Enabling Fund (IEF)

    The IEF will deliver the next generation of digital connectivity required within and between the Belfast Region City Deal projects. The fund will make provision for connectivity needs in Belfast Region rural locations identified as testbeds for sectors such as smart agriculture and tourism.

  • The Institute for Research Excellence in Advanced Clinical Healthcare (i-REACH)

    A project led by Queen’s University, Ulster University and partners from the life and health sciences sector. iREACH is an exciting new project for healthcare in Northern Ireland. It is the outcome of creative collaboration between academia, industry, the NHS and public sector and government stakeholders to drive UK science and innovation, by creating a unique ecosystem for testing new drugs through their development life cycle and integration into care pathways.

  • The Screen and Media Innovation Lab

    This is a collaboration between Ulster University and Queen’s University which seeks to build on the incredible success story that the creative industries have created for NI.  The Creative Industries have shaped an incredible success story for Northern Ireland – and the story does not end with Game of Thrones. The Screen and Media Innovation Lab (SMIL) will help to maximise the benefits of this sector for the Belfast Region by providing a dedicated physical infrastructure to support the rapidly expanding activity in this area. 

  • Smart District and Testbeds Programme

    As well as being an area for dynamic industry and specific technology testing, the Smart District will act as the flagship for the Regional Testbed Network. This will include connectivity infrastructure, such as 5G networking, at a large enough scale for multiple large-scale use cases across different sectors. Technology-ready testbeds will be created to develop and attract investment in technologies related to key sectors, such as health, tourism, logistics and advanced manufacturing.

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