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Norwich University of the Arts to lead £3 million Investment in the City’s Digital Creative Businesses

Funding for a new £3 million development to support Norwich’s growing digital creative industries sector has been granted this week. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has approved funding of over £1.5 million for the Digital Centre for Innovation at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). Combined with a contribution of £200,000 from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and a capital investment from NUA this project promises to stimulate the regional economy and contribute 195 high value jobs in creative digital businesses by 2020.

The new Digital Centre for Innovation will be located in a newly renovated building in the heart of the NUA city centre campus and will offer high quality incubation space for new digital creative business with close links to the NUA academic community and the provision of business support. It will provide a central hub for the city’s creative networks with new meeting, boardroom and networking space. The Digital Centre for Innovation is being delivered by NUA, with support from the New Anglia LEP.

Professor John Last, NUA Vice-Chancellor, said: “The Creative Industries sector has long been an integral part of both the regional and national economy. It is worth more than £36 billion a year and the global media and entertainment industry (which includes the creation of games, video and apps) is forecast to grow substantially. Norwich is fast gaining a reputation for its creative digital companies including award winning national agencies, SMEs and start-ups.

“NUA is committed to producing highly skilled, entrepreneurial graduates. Our media courses are accredited by Skillset who endorse the University’s close links with industry and employment. Recent graduates are achieving recognition on a national scale, including BAFTA winning graduate Sophia George who has been appointed the first V&A Games Designer in Residence. This project allows us to support students after graduation, offering opportunities to stay and work within the region, as well as providing existing regional businesses with access to our academics and research facilities. Companies locating in Norwich will be able to tap into the city’s highly skilled workforce and readily available talent pool.”

Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia LEP, said: “We are truly delighted that Norwich University of the Arts has been successful in securing national funding for the regional Digital Centre for Innovation. It is a very exciting scheme which will help reinforce Norwich’s position as a digital creative hub, helping to connect industry and academia and create almost 200 new jobs in one of the LEP’s priority sectors.”

Norwich South MP Simon Wright said: “The award of this funding is brilliant news for Norwich and for the University. The digital arts play an increasingly important role culturally and economically, and this centre will further strengthen Norwich’s reputation as a base of world-class creativity and innovation. The future is very exciting.”

Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur added: “I am delighted that NUA has levered this significant amount of money into the city. This, with the additional input from the LEP, will result in a centre of excellence here in Norwich which will stimulate high value jobs in the growing area of digital business and will make a real difference to stimulating the economy both here and beyond. This is a real coup for the city and I am sure will help attract other business to Norwich ensuring that our young people have more opportunities for training and work into the future.”

It is hoped that building work will start in the next few months, to be completed by late 2014.

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