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Art and design researchers at Ulster University have a strong tradition of collaboration and engagement on a regional, national and international basis.

Many of our current projects involve industry or the creative sector in partnership.

We have established other strategic developments that drive change interdisciplinary collaboration across sectors throughout the region and beyond.

National Museums Northern Ireland

Our staff engage widely with the arts and community sector, especially those in our Art, Conflict & Society and Art, Space & Place thematic groups.

Building upon long-term individual collaborations (>20 years) with the National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI). A formal Collaborative Agreement between NMNI, QUB and Ulster has been established in 2018.

This enables Research Collaboration on projects and PhD topics, Student Placements across the Arts & Humanities, Public Engagement and sharing of faculties, training and resources enriching both institutional environments.

Our collaboration includes exhibitions, permanent collections, book launches, impact support, PhD joint examination, visits and seminars.


Arts & Health researchers continue to engage with the two HPSS clinical research centres in NI: Clinical Transitional Research & Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) and the Medical Optimisation Innovation Centre (MOIC) securing funding, developing new products and sharing research.

Staff have generated 3 invention disclosures with HSC Innovations and were working towards commercialisation pathways.

Our researchers have active connection with the NI Pain Forum and NI Pain Society, and in 2018 we established a funded PhD in visualising pain (2018-2021), supported by a PHA steering group.

Staff and PhD researchers have presented at related research network events to the NI Pain Forum, NI Leg Ulcer Forum and contributing to CPD accredited training by the Royal College of Anaesthetists at the NI Pain Society annual scientific meeting.

One of our KTP's will Axial3D Ltd. developed a 3D web-based visualisation system, for medical professionals, enabling realistic and accurate digital twins of printed anatomy.

Resulting in faster pre-operative decision making, improved topographic understanding and verification anatomy that saves time, cost and potentially lives.

It was graded 'outstanding' by Innovate UK. It was awarded Ulster University Research Excellence Award in 2020 for Business partner ship under 50 employees. In 2020, we appointed Professor Peter Lloyd Jones, from Sheffield Hallam University Lab4Living to further develop areas of mutual interest.

Creative Industries

The Creative Industries Institute was established in 2017 and is a University inclusive entity, led by Arts.

This £20M investment provides a specific location for much of the industry collaborative R&D, knowledge exchange and impact activity and the interests of the Design disciplines (Graphics, Product, Interaction, Fashion & Textiles).

We are a key centre for Knowledge Exchange and consultancy in this sector. Professor Fleming is one of the Co-Directors.

Northern Bridge Consortium (NBC)

The NBC is a Doctoral Training Partnership for the Northern corridor of the UK. It includes collaborative partners from:

  • Durham University
  • Newcastle University
  • Northumbria University
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Sunderland University
  • Teesside University
  • Ulster University and their strategic partners

We are one of three Universities in the consortium with Art & Design expertise.

Within Ulster University, Art and Design staff have four lead roles.

Professor Fleming is Director and subject leads include:

  • Dr Magee (Design)
  • Dr McHugh (Visual Arts)
  • Dr Boyd (Information and Communication Technologies)

AHRC Creative Industries Clusters Programme: Future Screens NI

This industry facing research environment, described as world class and original by AHRC, reaches across multidisciplinary groups and is a significant part of our impact strategy. Future Screens NI is a collaboration between both Ulster University and Queen's University.

The key partners include

  • Northern Ireland Screen
  • BBC
  • Belfast City Council
  • Belfast Harbour
  • Causeway Enterprise Agency
  • Digital Catapult
  • Catalyst Inc.
  • RTE
  • Games NI
  • Kainos
  • Invest NI
  • Techstart NI
  • Matrix and Tourism NI

The strength of Future Screens NI was recognised by Professor Chitty, Challenge Director, when he announced at Beyond 2019 that ‘Future Screens NI is at the forefront of industry investment via the Industrial Strategy Programme’.

Professor Fleming, Dr Magee and Mr Parkin are Co-Investigators in this 20 strong team.