University of Dundee University of Dundee
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16 August 2011

Dundee to lead new multi-million knowledge exchange hub for the creative economy

The University of Dundee has been selected by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as one of four universities to lead prestigious new `Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy’ for the next four years.

Representing an investment by the AHRC of some £16m over four years, the Hubs will be charged with the task of building new partnerships and entrepreneurial capacity in the Creative Economy and increasing the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.

The four lead institutions are:

  • University of Dundee
  • University of Lancaster
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • University of the West of England

Scotland’s Education Secretary Michael Russell said, 'I am delighted that the University of Dundee is to be one of four institutions receiving funding to increase support for arts and humanities across the country. Scotland is a creative nation with a rich heritage, contributing to the world as a modern dynamic country.

'Culture and creativity deliver significant benefits for the people of Scotland. Our world leading creative industries support 60,000 jobs and generate £5.2 billion each year for the Scottish economy. I look forward to hearing more about the good work carried out by this project.'

Dundee is leading a consortium that includes all of the Scottish art colleges 'Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (part of the University of Dundee), Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow School of Art and Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art - the University of Abertay Dundee and the University of St Andrews.

Like the other consortia, the Dundee-led project is supported by creative businesses, including SMEs, arts and culture organisations and other agencies. It is supported by over £4million funding from the AHRC and additional investment from other bodies.

'This is a project that will have a major impact on the creative industries and academia across Scotland,' said Professor Georgina Follett, Deputy Principal of the University of Dundee, who is heading the project.

'It will push design into areas it has not traditionally been associated with, such as sport, wellbeing, rural economics, and food & diet. It will reinforce the idea that design is not just about a beautiful product, it is something that can effect change in wider society.'

The project will eventually have a base in the V&A at Dundee where it will show examples of how design is working across society.

The UK's Creative Economy - which includes the creative industries as well as museums, galleries, libraries, orchestras, theatres, etc. - is, relative to GDP, probably the largest creative sector in the world.

As the major focus of AHRC’s new knowledge exchange and impact strategy for 2011-2015, the Hubs will encourage significant interactions between research and the Creative Economy which will generate wider social, economic and cultural benefits.

CEO of the AHRC and Chair of the assessment panel which made the awards Professor Rick Rylance, said, 'The UK is outstanding at many things and leads the world in some. Of these the quality and innovation of our research and the dynamism of our creative economy are two that stand out. These AHRC Creative Economy Hubs offer the opportunity to unite these sectors to the benefit of both sides and the country as a whole. The successful consortia emerged from an exceptionally strong field. We congratulate them; look forward to working closely with them over the next four years; and to welcoming the results of their work.'

David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science said, 'Interaction between businesses and universities is crucial for driving growth. It enables businesses and organisations to benefit from our world-class research base, gaining new knowledge and ideas. This major investment will not only enrich the creative industries but is also a vote of confidence in the excellent arts and humanities research at our higher education institutions.'

Notes for editors

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from languages and law, archaeology and English literature to design and creative and performing arts. In any one year, the AHRC makes hundreds of research awards ranging from individual fellowships to major collaborative projects as well as over 1,100 studentship awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.

AHRC Knowledge Exchange (KE) Hubs in the Creative Economy: AHRC KE Hubs present a unique opportunity for Research Organisations already working in strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations to strengthen and diversify their collaborative research activities, build new partnerships in the creative economy and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.

For further information from the AHRC, please contact: Jake Gilmore on 07970 99 4586 or

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