Wired Sussex / News / Wed 7th Sep 2011 Brighton Fuse
A £1m grant has been awarded to expand the creative, digital and IT sector in Brighton and Hove.
The project – called ‘Brighton Fuse’– will bring together a consortium of experts with the aim of supporting innovation, creativity and economic growth and generating new business and employment opportunities.
The project was initiated and developed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) and it will involve the city’s two universities and Wired Sussex, which works with over 2,000 digital, media and technology companies in the region.
The consortium will examine and build on the dynamics of the city’s large cluster of small digital and creative businesses and develop new ways for them to connect with and benefit from the research base and graduate talent pool from both the University of Brighton and University of Sussex. It will also help develop more entrepreneurial opportunities for new graduates outside of the normal graduate recruitment fairs.
Researchers from both universities will join forces on the project. Professor Julian Crampton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton and Professor Michael Farthing, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex said: “Digital media plays a major role at both universities in terms of course development, research and partnership activity with industry. We are delighted that our expertise will make a major contribution to this project and play a significant role boosting the creative zone and generating much needed business and jobs.”
David Docherty, the CIHE’s chief executive, said: “The fusion of great university graduates and top quality research has always lit high growth for creative, digital and IT businesses. And in a converged age, the fusion of these industries is vital to the UK's economic success. We are delighted to work with two great universities and Brighton's creative community to ignite the Fuse in Brighton.”
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "Bringing together researchers, universities and small business will drive innovation and growth in the digital and creative industries around Brighton and Hove. This builds on existing expertise and will provide better opportunities for both businesses and graduates.
"To rebuild our economy and create new jobs, we need to inspire the next generation to seriously think about starting their own company. Today's announcement links up with our support for Start Up Britain, a series of initiatives to help create the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs."
The Brighton Fuse will be chaired by Anne Morrison, former director of Network Production at the BBC, a distinguished programme maker and now director of the BBC Academy, the BBC’s centre of training and development which houses the Colleges of Journalism, Production and Leadership and the Centre of Technology.
She said: “The media industry is changing beyond all recognition, and it needs talented people who are as at home with digital skills as they are with creative. Creative engineers are as vital to our success as digital producers. I am delighted to chair The Fuse in Brighton and I look forward to helping universities develop the right talent for a great future.”
Phil Jones, MD of Wired Sussex says “Brighton is internationally recognised for the quality of its artistic and creative activity and the dynamism of its digital, media and technology businesses. Brighton Fuse will enable us to build on the existing relationships between the two in ways that benefit both and put the city right at the forefront of such convergent activity. This is a unique project for a unique city.
Professor Rick Rylance, chief executive of the AHRC, said: “The AHRC is proud to be involved with the development of this project and to be supporting its implementation. It's an exciting opportunity to do research with academic and non-academic partners and a new way of working for us in this area. We hope it'll be only the first of such innovations in the way we support research in the creative economy."