Director of The Ulster Screen Academy

Professor Declan Keeney

Dean's Office (Arts, Hum & Social Sc)

Belfast campus

Room BA-05-001,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,

Arts and Humanities Research

Director of The Ulster Screen Academy

Professor Declan Keeney


Declan Keeney, (PhD, MA, BMus (Hons), LTCL, PgCHET, PgDip, SFHEA) is a Professor (Chair) of Screen Technologies and Innovation at Ulster University and is Director of the Ulster Screen Academy.  Declan is Project Sponsor and Director of R&D&I at Studio Ulster. Leading on the operationalisation of a £75m Belfast Region City Deal Pillar Innovation project, in the form of a 75,000 ft2 commercial Virtual Production Studio complex with dedicated R&D&I labs currently under construction at Belfast Harbour Studios in NI.

Declan’s current research in support of the screen industries represents £91.5m worth of live grant-based research and development investments. Currently researching 6DoF, world building, photogrammetry, and virtual production in film and broadcast. Originally from Donegal in the Northwest of Ireland, Declan is a member of the Executive Team for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Ulster University. Declan with colleagues at Ulster University recently secured £2.9m Levelling Up Fund for a flexible virtual production studio in Belfast to democratise access to the technology and R&D.

As a Co-investigator at Future Screens Northern Ireland (FSNI), a £13m AHRC funded Creative Cluster, Declan has worked closely with the burgeoning immersive tech and virtual reality sector in Northern Ireland. He is Co-investigator on a £3.2m EPSRC Network+ grant entitled ‘Virtual Production in a Digital economy’ with partners the Universities of York, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and the University of the Arts in London.

Declan Chairs and established a Special Interest Group (SIG) in Real-time and Virtual Production at Ulster in 2021 and leads skills and curricula development as an expert in screen technologies and innovation within the Ulster Screen Academy. In 2021, the Academy, officially opened a £1.6m Virtual Production studio training facility at Ulster University's Belfast campus, the first of its kind in any university in the UK or Ireland and became an Unreal Academic Partner.

Declan has over 25 years of broadcast media experience, including 13 years as staff at the BBC.

Among his latest projects is a Virtual Reality documentary film funded through PEACE IV and managed by the Special European Union Programme's Body. The VR doc entitled 'Frictionless' explores the impact and legacy of the conflict in Ireland known as The Troubles, immersing us in sites of trauma along the Cavan-Fermanagh border in Ireland with victims and survivors.

Declan is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.