Over the next four years, funding from the European Commission – Horizon 2020 – will establish local innovation hubs in eight European cities in countries including Portugal, France, Italy and the Netherlands as part of the Hub-In project, to maximise the positive local impact of major regeneration projects in historic urban areas.
In Belfast, the focus will be on the Maritime Mile on Belfast’s waterfront – an experience that encourages people to explore Belfast’s maritime and industrial history by connecting key attractions, public realm, sculptures and viewing points on both sides of the River Lagan.
Belfast Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey commented: “Hub-In offers us a really important opportunity to work with neighbouring communities on Belfast’s waterfront and right across the city; supporting them to develop entrepreneurial skills; stimulating digital innovation; and fostering new business opportunities to help transform the area into a dynamic maritime destination.
“All of this work will contribute to achieving the inclusive growth objectives we’ve set out in the Belfast Agenda and the Belfast Region City Deal, and builds community engagement as we work with citizens, SMEs, our local academic institutions and public sector to create a ‘Smart District’ as part of our wider Smart Belfast programme.
“The district is a great opportunity to work with citizens to co-design solutions to tackle key urban challenges in areas such as sustainability, mobility and health.”
Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of the Maritime Belfast Trust added: “Being part of Hub-In presents a really valuable opportunity to share knowledge and best practice on a European level – and to showcase how we’re applying innovation to Belfast’s tourism, heritage and culture so that we benefit local communities and the wider economy.”
The Hub-In project is supported by a number of other Belfast partners including Catalyst, Belfast Metropolitan College, the Department for Finance’s Innovation Lab and Future Screens NI to develop a programme of Hub-In activities including entrepreneurship support, training, community engagement and trials of innovative technology and new approaches.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 869429.