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More investment in the IDI

08 April 2008


The Institute of Digital Innovation (IDI) will move into the next phase of its development thanks to a further £1.4m of funding from regional development agency One NorthEast.

The IDI is one of two key components of the DigitalCity initiative, established by the University of Teesside and Middlesbrough Council to realise the Tees Valley’s potential to generate and sustain a fast growing, high level economic base in the digital and creative sectors for the region.

The investment will allow the IDI to focus on establishing itself as a successful business facility, providing digital academics with the support they need to become leading regional entrepreneurs. The other element of DigitalCity is the BoHo Zone, which will house 27 businesses and almost 300 jobs and become the region’s answer to the creative quarters of New York and London.

One NorthEast has invested almost £15m in total towards the two developments since they were launched.

Ian Williams, Director of Business and Industry at One NorthEast, said: ‘I am delighted the board has approved this additional funding, which will enable to second phase of the IDI to get underway.

‘One NorthEast and our partners recognized the potential and importance of this facility so it’s wonderful that we’re now seeing that potential converted into real success - a centre which is establishing North East England as a leading location for digital and creative development.

‘The IDI and the wider DigitalCity initiative is creating jobs and businesses, attracting investment into the area and raising the profile of the region nationally and internationally, leading to a more prosperous and sustainable economy.’

Figures compiled recently by Shared Intelligence highlight just how successful the IDI has been. It has supported over 150 academics and created more than 100 jobs and 50 businesses, making a substantial contribution to the DigitalCity aim of attracting and retaining talented graduates and raising the profile of the University and the region’s digital cluster.

The second phase of the IDI, based within the £12m Phoenix Centre, will have four main themes. These are:

  • DigitalCity Fellowships – Established during phase one, the project will continue to focus on generating new enterprise activity and employment opportunities, by providing fellows with financial support and expertise
  • Connecting Innovation (Technology Transfer) – This combines leading edge facilities, joint business and university research and development programmes
  • Connecting Innovation (Digital Inclusion and Digital Skills) – This element will provide learning opportunities for employees and potential employees of the digital technologies sector, as well engaging people of all ages to enter it
  • Passionate about Digital – This element will focus on promoting the region, its digital cluster and the University nationally and internationally and providing networking opportunities for academia, the local community and the business world.

Jim TerKeurst, Director of the IDI, said: ‘Innovation is at the heart of global business, and these themes working together will make the Institute of Digital Innovation a terrific resource for the digital and creative industries in the North East.’

Phase one of the IDI was completed at the end of March, while the second phase will run until the end of March 2011.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Teesside, Professor Graham Henderson, said: ‘The IDI has a major role to play in the region, attracting and generating new talent, working with companies on high-level skills and development opportunities, and producing the ideas and the businesses for a digital supercluster.

‘With this tremendous investment and vote of confidence from One NorthEast, we’re on course with our partners to build a national and international reputation for digital innovation in the North East.’

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