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Business and investment

Digital innovation

  • Smart Belfast

    Belfast has ambitious plans for the future. Building on our economic revival, we want to make our city an outstanding place to live, work and invest.

    Drawing from the city’s tradition of hard work and know-how, Smart Belfast brings together our universities, businesses, local government and citizens to collaborate, innovate and experiment using cutting-edge technologies and data science.

    To learn more about our work and challenge calls, go to Smart Belfast (link opens in a new window).

  • Innovation City Belfast

    We’re working with Belfast Harbour, Catalyst, Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, and advisory partner Invest Northern Ireland on Innovation City Belfast. Our aim is to establish Belfast as a globally-significant destination for innovation.

    For information, go to Innovation City Belfast website (link opens in a new window) and follow @ICBelfast on Twitter.

  • Urban Innovation Framework

    Digital innovation has an increasingly dominant role to play in urban, social and economic policy.

    We want to find ways to harness this innovation to better support Belfast’s transformation to a more productive and sustainable city that provides a rich quality of life for our citizens.

    First devised in 2017, the Smart Belfast Urban Innovation framework nurtures an environment in which innovators from across industry, academia, the public sector and from our communities can work together to find new ways to address Belfast’s major urban and economic challenges. Smart Belfast is constructed around the concept of ‘urban innovation’. Rather than restrict the idea of innovation to a purely economic or business development agenda, we argue that there is an important, mutually beneficial interplay between growing our innovation economy and exploiting digital innovation to address major urban policy issues. These include the city’s response to climate change, healthy living, sustainable urban mobility and economic transformation.

    Our new framework, which runs to 2026, incorporates many important ideas that have emerged over the past few years, not least of which has been learning from society’s response to the global pandemic.

    We’ve also sought to find ways to maximise the opportunities offered by the £120 million Belfast Region City Deal digital investments that are planned for the coming decade. Our new approach acknowledges the exciting potential of new initiatives such as the Innovation City Belfast partnership.

    Our refreshed framework puts much greater emphasis on the importance of place and place-making to urban innovation - an approach that has resulted in our commitment to a Smart District right in the heart of the city.

    Urban innovation is a collective effort. We can offer a leadership and convening role, but ultimately, partners and communities across the city need to work together to cultivate an urban innovation culture and ecosystem. We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to Belfast’s Urban Innovation Framework and look forward to working with you to realise our shared ambitions for the city.

    Read our Urban Innovation Framework 2022 to 2026

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