Derry City and Strabane District is set to receive £105m in funding from the UK Government to boost the economy in the region through innovation and skills development.
The investment package includes a £50m ‘City Deal’ to support innovation and grow the area's digital sector, and a £55m ‘Inclusive Future Fund’ aimed at job creation and the development of young people’s skills.
The funding will enable development of a landmark riverfront university medical education and innovation hub, comprising a graduate entry medical college and centres of innovation, research and teaching excellence in data-driven personalised medicine, cognitive analytics and robotics and automation.
It is envisaged that it would create 200 new research posts and increase Ulster University numbers in the city by 2,000.
The stimulus package will additionally advance the delivery of a range of smart city and digital infrastructure projects and initiatives, further positioning the City and District as a highly digitally enabled location for cutting-edge business development and expansion and inward investment.
Derry and Strabane Mayor John Boyle said: “This hugely significant announcement today for the Derry and Strabane District will go some considerable way in addressing the long-standing obstacles to economic development that this City Region and its people face.
“It is good news and is the result of an enormous amount of work and sustained effort invested by Council and the City and Regional partners to develop, deliver and negotiate on the bid.”
Derry City and Strabane District Council anticipates the funding will be further boosted by the Northern Ireland government and additional financing from project partners and the private sector. The local authority estimates the total investment will top £300m.
Council Chief Executive John Kelpie acknowledged the collaborative approach and the unified vision and commitment demonstrated by politicians, and partner organisations in development of the bid and the advice and support received regionally and nationally in securing such a positive outcome.
“This funding package, if directed at the key agreed strategic growth projects and if used to lever significant further public and private sector investment, will deliver a new era of unprecedented growth and development for the City and Region providing tangible benefits for all of our citizens and a promising future for our children and young people,” said Chief Executive Kelpie.