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Lighting the fuse of economic growth

A major new research project has been launched to explore how the Creative, Digital and IT (CDIT) sector in the North East can be developed in order to play a leading role in the region’s economy.

The new £3m ‘Creative Fuse North East’ project will involve all five of the North East’s universities – Newcastle, Northumbria, Durham, Sunderland and Teesside – and is funded jointly by the universities and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Working with the region’s 12 local authorities, businesses, artists, cultural organisations and other partners, they will research how the CDIT sector can ensure it has the right skills for a sustainable future.

The 30 month project will look at how the skills within the region’s CDIT sector can benefit the wider regional economy, for example by exploring opportunities for placing creative practitioners in businesses in other sectors as a way to increase innovation. It will begin by mapping the creative, digital and commercial landscape of the North East in terms of the mix of skills, knowledge and support available, and how the region’s universities can support the sector more effectively.

The project is led by Newcastle University and will draw on expertise from more than 40 academic and business support staff from across the five institutions, from creative arts, cultural heritage and digital humanities to business schools and cloud computing.

Professor Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs at Newcastle University, said: “To ensure that the North East’s CDIT sector can realise its full potential, businesses and creative practitioners need to be able to connect with, and benefit from, the best that our universities have to offer in terms of research, training and talent.

“Creative Fuse North East will work hand-in-hand with the CDIT sector to discover and promote best practice, join up support, and drive creativity and innovation across the North East’s economy.

“By bringing businesses, artists and academics together, this project will create value – both in economic and cultural terms – regionally and nationally.”

For more information about Creative Fuse, email [email protected]