New Screen Media Innovation Lab

Building on the success of the creative industries in Northern Ireland

The Creative Industries have been an incredible success story for Northern Ireland and the story does not end with Game of Thrones.

The new Screen and Media Innovation Lab (SMIL) will help to maximise the benefits of the sector for the Belfast Region by providing a dedicated physical infrastructure to support the rapid growth.

As one of the Belfast Region City  Deal’s innovation projects, SMIL will provide a Centre of Excellence in Research and Development, and Innovation in Virtual Production, where academics, researchers and the creative sectors can collaborate using state of the art facilities, helping to both sustain and grow jobs in one of Northern Ireland’s most successful sectors.

SMIL will be tailored to address genuine industry need, specialising in four key strands:

  • Film
  • Animation
  • Immersive (AR/VR/ MR)
  • Games

There will be a particular focus on Virtual Production which brings together aspects of all these strands with cutting edge approaches and new technologies.

SMIL will seek to make this expertise and innovation accessible to a wide range of users by providing facilities of scale and quality which are not yet available in the Belfast Region, attracting key international and indigenous industry partners.

Professor Frank Lyons, Associate Dean of Research and Impact, Co-Director of The Creative Industries Institute and Ulster University's Academic Lead on the SMIL project, said:

“As well as facilitating the levels of virtual innovation that will make us world leaders, SMIL will provide training and development opportunities to strengthen our talent pipeline, meeting the needs of the sector and boosting our productivity. In conjunction with the Belfast Harbour Film Studio complex, SMIL will drive collaboration in R&D on an unprecedented scale.

“SMIL has the potential to completely transform our creative industries, providing the platform for local companies to compete globally and establishing the Belfast region as a destination of choice for investment.”

SMIL is set to play a key role in the Belfast region’s economic recovery post-COVID, by building on the success of Northern Ireland’s creative industries which already contribute over £1billion GVA to the NI economy.

Find out more about the Screen Media Innovation Lab >>

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