City Deals are a mechanism by which resources are targeted based on a deep understanding of regional needs and ambitions. Their goal is transformation of regional economies for the widest possible benefit. Since 2011, there have been three waves of City Deals, covering virtually every major city across England, Scotland and Wales.
In 2019, the Heads of Terms for a Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) were signed by the UK Government, paving the way for the development of detailed proposals for projects to stimulate inclusive growth in the region.
The draft NI Industrial Strategy recognises that ‘fundamental to successful innovation is people – people with a vision and a willingness to embrace change, to test new ideas and to collaborate with others’.
The formal BRCD partners include the NI Civil Service, as well as our six Councils, six further education colleges, and our two universities. A broad base of private sector partners, from all areas of strength within the regional economy, have been involved in the development of Innovation project proposals, and as a result, the projects have industry need at their core.
Shared understanding of the opportunities and challenges for our Region across this network of partnerships between industry, academia and the public sector is the foundation for the success of the Belfast Region City Deal. Through the Innovation projects we will together create a new ecosystem in which discovery, creativity and technology will flourish.
from UK Treasury for Innovation and Digital investments
from NI Executive for Tourism and Regeneration, Infrastructure, and Skills
target co-investment from private sector, councils and universities
The City Deal will provide approximately £1bn of investment for the Belfast Region over 15 years
These are the common threads that connect our heritage as pioneers of ship-building and flax-milling to our present-day innovation success stories, from cyber security to Game of Thrones. The Belfast Region has fostered these three strands for generations, nurturing scientists, artists and entrepreneurs.
Innovation, in the Belfast Region as elsewhere, is what has powered greater prosperity and improved quality of life. The locus for innovation changes from era to era, as new horizons open up, new threats and challenges emerge, and new ways of living and working together become the norm. But the imperative remains constant: identify the greatest opportunities and challenges of the place and the time, and bring discovery, creativity and technology to bear.
Over the past decade, successive UK governments have consistently emphasised the importance of the distinctive strengths and challenges of different regions, and responding to these in a tailored way. The Government’s Industrial Strategy commits to stimulating a substantial increase in R&D spending in the economy, with a target of 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
It is seeking to drive this change through a place-based approach that recognises the unique potential across every part of the UK. Achieving this target will involve both harnessing the particular advantages of cities and regions, and addressing differences in regional productivity that are currently greater within the UK than in any other European country.