What is the Belfast Region City Deal?

A City Deal is a bespoke package of funding and decision making powers agreed between central government and local regions; aimed at helping to harness additional investment, create new jobs and accelerate inclusive economic growth.

The Universities’ role

Queen’s University and Ulster University are key partners in the BRCD along with six local councils, FE colleges and the Northern Ireland Civil Service. The BRCD is made up of 22 integrated projects that each fall within one of three investment themes and are intended to deliver 20,000 new and better jobs.

For further information contact the Innovation Programme Office.

Working in close collaboration, the universities are leading on the five innovation projects that fall within the ‘Innovation and Digital’ cog. Designed to be the catalyst that will drive forward investment in research and development, they will help to embed a culture of innovation and act as a driver for increased productivity.

  • Five integrated projects
  • Global centres of innovation in key growth sectors
  • Projects in health, creative industries, advanced manufacturing, healthcare technology and data analytics
  • Enabling the Belfast Region for the Knowledge Economy
  • Leveraging the Universities’ research strengths
Innovation and Digital

Investing in digital and innovation to drive productivity

Tourism and Regeneration

Boosting tourism and regenerating our region


Connecting people to opportunity and services through enhanced infrastructure

Employability and Skills

Underpinning inclusive economic growth with a comprehensive employibility and skills programme

Find out more about the other Cogs within the Belfast Region City Deal.

Innovation Projects

A City Deal is a bespoke package of funding and decision making powers agreed between central government and local regions.

  • The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC)

    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 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, already contributing over £1billion GVA to the NI economy and employing around 26,000 people.

  • 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.

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

    This is a transformative project led by Queen’s University, Ulster University and partners from the life and health sciences sector.

What we have to say

Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University

“We welcome this unparalleled opportunity presented by the City Deal to achieve economic growth and prosperity for the Belfast Region and look forward to working together.”

Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University
Professor Ian Greer, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University

“The Belfast Region has a once-in-a-generation opportunity through the City Deal to make interventions that will open up new innovation horizons and define our economic future. Queen's is committed to the new level of collaborative working this will require, within the Innovation strand, and across the various themes of the Deal.”

Professor Ian Greer, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University
Partnerships with
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