Derry City “A City Region of Opportunities”

Derry City
Image provided by Derry City.

Derry City and Strabane District Council area comprises the second largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth largest city on the Island of Ireland. Derry~Londonderry is the ‘Capital of the North West’ and is at the core of the only functional economic city region of its scale which straddles the border into the Republic of Ireland.

Derry-Londonderry has an urban population in excess of 100,000, and is the principal sub regional economic driver of a wider cross border City Region of over 350,000 people.

Key Projects/Achievements

Derry~Londonderry has a remarkable and rich history, culture and heritage. The region has become one of the most creative and cultural areas on this island and is now a strong global competitor in tourism, life sciences and digital and creative industries. Over recent years the City has experienced considerable social, economic and environmental transformation. Current strengths are in Life Sciences, Business Services, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering and are supported by third level institutes and R&D institutions of excellence. The region is also witnessing start-up growth involving advanced technologies such as Cyber Security, AI and Machine Learning.

The city is one of Ireland’s most vibrant digital clusters outside Belfast and Dublin. Ulster University, Northwest Regional College and Letterkenny Institute of Technology are amongst the most collaborative partners that can assist in innovating the digital future of the city. Home to global brands such as Fujitsu, Kainos and Allstate, global leaders rub shoulders and do business with fast-growing local companies and start-ups. This Regional City is a University City and has Northern Ireland’s second largest acute hospital, which includes the only cross-border Cancer Centre on this island.

Digital Strategy Aspirations

An important aim is to progress on the City’s Digital Transformation Plan developed via the Digital Cities Challenge to bolster the city’s digital innovation ecosystem and to bring jobs and enterprises into the next wave of digital innovation. The establishment of a Development Zone Pilot will mitigate the challenges and explore the opportunities arising from Brexit, develop compelling business cases and support packages for Foreign Direct Investment and to develop international connections to drive growth and investment.

The city aims to improve the supply of digital skills needed in key sectors through investment in research and innovation centres. A significant investment in a City Deal has been secured which will allow expansion of the University of Ulster at Magee and North West Regional College. It will also build on research centres such as C-TRIC (Clinical Translational Innovation Research Centre), CARL (Cognitive Analytics Research Lab), the Intelligent Systems Research Centre and the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (CIDRA).

Developing Startups & the Social Economy

To maximise job creation and investment opportunities in Derry~Londonderry, clusters of industry specialism will be strengthened in Advanced Manufacturing, Life and Health Sciences, Digital and Creative Industries and Tourism. The city aims to be inclusive and will deliver business start-up programmes, mentoring support for entrepreneurs and development support focused on areas of high economic inactivity and rural community hubs. Development of a vibrant social economy sector through targeted support is a further objective.

To transform industry there is an aim to increase the level of awareness of local companies on the benefits of Industry 4.0 and smart, green manufacturing and to increase take up of new technology by local business. A further aim is to increase the local level of industry relevant research in Industry 4.0 and to develop industry-research partnerships.

Derry~Londonderry plans to build on the city’s experience in using ICT to improve energy efficiency, non-carbon sources and smart grid pilots to deploy a smart energy demonstration pilot in the city, combining IoT, AI, etc. and accelerating the transition to a carbon neutral city, a goal we aim to achieve by 2045 via a cross-border North West Energy Strategy.