Creative Clusters Programme

The Creative Industries Clusters Programme will invest £80m in eight new creative research & development partnerships bringing together the UK’s renowned creative industries with our world-leading university sector.


The Creative Industries Clusters Programme starting in 2018, will invest £80m in eight new creative research & development partnerships bringing together the UK’s renowned creative industries with arts and humanities led research from our world-leading university sector.

A core recommendation of the recent Bazalgette Review, is to foster clusters of creative industries, supporting regional growth. The report endorsed the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, developing “focal points for work to grow and strengthen the creative economy”

Successful Stage 1 bids will be announced in early February 2018.

From film and music to video games and architecture, the UK has one of the world’s largest, most innovative and fastest growing creative industries.

The Programme will act as a catalyst to further grow the creative economy unlocking emerging fields and adapting new technologies with a new wave of R&D that will open up exciting ways to create, distribute, and participate in products and experiences.

Part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, this programme will drive economic growth through the development of exciting new products and services, generating a step-change in the creation of new jobs and the supply of high-value skills to fill them.

While providing the impetus for the creative industries to flourish across the UK, this investment will also expand international trade and secure the UK’s reputation as having the world’s leading creative industries.


Engagement events2nd – 20th October 2017
Deadline for statement of intent submissions27th October 2017
Deadline for applications – Stage 17th December 2017
Outcomes of Stage 1 assessment panelEarly February 2018
Deadline for applications – Stage 25th April 2018
Interview panel for shortlisted applications5th–6th June 2018
Announcement of successful proposalsEarly July 2018
Latest start date for Creative R&D PartnershipsOctober 2018


65 consortiums have submitted a “statement of intent”, the first step in the bidding process for AHRC’s Creative Industries Clusters Programme.

The majority of bidders have opted to share their contact details and summaries of their bids to enable industry and non-academic organisations to connect with relevant applications. The document below lists the key contacts, lead institutions and summaries from these bids.

One of the core aims of the programme is to build links between universities, independent research organisations, non-academic and industry partners. To find out more about a particular bid, please get in touch with that bid’s key contact.

bid infographic

To help visualise the geographic distribution of the 65 submissions so far,  an infographic has been designed to illustrate the scale & breadth of bids.

» View the full-size infographic
» View interactive map of bids

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