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Fuse at Ten – report launch

16 May 2023

A new report highlights the positive impact Creative Fuse North East (CFNE) has had on regional creative industries.

The ‘FUSE at Ten: Reviewing a Decade of Research Impact‘ report, which is being launched at the House of Lords today (16th May), details how Creative Fuse has supported more than 500 creative, digital and IT businesses and freelancers. It states its interventions have enabled companies to innovate in their thinking, processes and products. The report also underlines the benefits of the North East’s five universities working together, which means academic expertise is easily accessed in one place.

With funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and drawing on over 30 interviews and a focus group of business beneficiaries, the research demonstrates the range and scale of the impact from the family of Fuse projects exploring how such impact is generated, transmitted, and integrated into meaningful action. The study offers provocations on how long-term impacts may be better supported and reported, in a context where short-term trends may attract more attention and resource. The report is aimed at research funders and researchers, creative and technology industries funders and regional and national policy-makers, as well as business support agencies and intermediaries.

The work pioneered by Brighton Fuse investigating the clustering of creative and digital businesses triggered directions for a host of subsequent projects: a follow-up business survey three years later; a study of freelancers and their role in the creative cluster; a study in the economically different North East of England, mapping the creative economy and developing innovation pilots and business support through diversified funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England. Work with Brighton businesses has continued through the establishment of the FuseBox following the original project, which set out to host, inspire and support small businesses with creative tech innovation. Meanwhile, Creative Fuse North East (CFNE) continued to a second phase and has provided support to over 500 businesses and freelancers. Creative Fuse North East also provided evidence that has influenced regional development policy and innovation support programmes as part of devolution implementation.

The impacts of the Fuse research agenda were felt across several UK regions through municipal initiatives and successive AHRC investments such as the Creative Industries Clusters Programme (CICP). The still live CICP is a £55m investment as part of the
Government’s Industrial Strategy, funding nine regional R&D and commercialisation partnerships, localised to encourage collaboration between creative and tech developers.

The ‘Fuse at Ten’ report and research will be launched at the House of Lords on 16th May with Lord Vaizey, former minister at DCMS and long-time advocate for the Fuse activity around the UK, hosting the launch event. In addition to Lord Vaizey, the event will also be supported by Shadow Minister for Science, Research & Innovation, Chi Onwurah; and, Director of Partnerships & Engagement at the Arts & Humanities Research Council, Allan Sudlow.

The report can be downloaded here: The FUSE at Ten Report