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CREW secures planning for new Creative Industries Innovation Hub at GMIT Cluain Mhuire Campus
08 Dec 2021 : Nathan Griffin
CREW site at GMIT Cluain Mhuire Campus
CREW has been given the green light by Galway City Council to proceed with its proposed planning permission and development of an innovation hub on the GMIT Cluain Mhuire Campus.

A new collaborative not for profit company established by GMIT, The Western Development Commission, and Galway Film Centre, CREW was created to develop and support the creative industries sectors along the Atlantic Economic Corridor.

The brand-new Innovation Hub designed by Cronin Architects in Kinvara will commence construction in quarter 2 of 2022 and aims to be fully operational for the summer of 2023 at GMIT’s Cluain Mhuire Campus.

The CREW Innovation Hub will provide space for 180 entrepreneurs, start-ups and new FDI companies in the CreaTech sector. In addition, it is designed as a hub and event space that will cater for training, networking, and business events which will bring together start-ups, the creative enterprise sector, students, academics, and the local community. The overall aim for the project is to foster creative industry business growth, job creation along with core development, enhancement, and investment in the sector.

The CREW board led by Chief Executive Niamh Costello have worked hand in hand with Cronin Architects to design and create a new and unique two-storey building, which will be sustainable in its design and energy, while complimenting the existing historic Cluain Mhuire campus buildings. Set to the front of the GMIT campus on the green, tree lined space along the Wellpark Road, the new CREW Innovation Hub is designed to reveal itself through the existing trees upon entering the site.

“Investment in innovation is critical to ensure the future competitiveness of the Creative Industries sector in the West of Ireland. The region already has a cluster of Creative Technology and Digital entrepreneurs. CREW will bring those companies closer together to create an enterprise culture that encourages entrepreneurs to create new companies that will either become world players themselves or form the basis for expansion of existing companies,” said CEO of CREW, Niamh Costello.

“This early activation centre will play a critical role in delivering on this vision. The on-campus innovation hub will provide important collaboration space and opportunities for entrepreneurs, researchers, start-ups, and corporate innovation teams to develop new research and innovative approaches to developing the Creative Industries in the region and identifying new opportunities, for the benefit of society and the economy.''

Enhancing the existing green space at GMIT Cluain Mhuire, CREW Innovation Hub will also improve pedestrianisation though the re-establishment of a historic secondary entrance to the front of existing buildings via pedestrian route from the Wellpark road. The two-storey building will provide a vibrant stand-alone building on the existing GMIT Creative Arts campus at Cluain Mhuire and will provide flexible multi-unit co-working space for companies in the Creative Technology sector.

CREW and the appointed architects, Cronin Architects, are focused on the sustainability of this new building and  have ensured the new building is orientated to maximize the advantage of passive solar gain exceeding present standards. CREW envisages that credentials will include a very high performing building envelope, high airtightness standards, green scaping and permeable hardscaping.  Rainwater harvesting, renewal heating, cooling power are all part of the development and an overall ambition to provide an ultra-low carbon development has been at the centre of the development of the new CREW Innovation Hub. The building and site will also avail of adjacent public transport including the intended future bus corridor and dedicated cycle lane to the Wellpark road which is currently under the Galway Transport Strategy (GTS).

The approved planning permission for the CREW Innovation Hub brings the organisations first year in operation to an exciting end. It’s currently in the midst of a recruitment campaign for CREW LABS - an Incubator programme for early-stage start-ups in Creative Digital Industries, in partnership with GMIT.

The CREW LAB incubation programme is especially designed to support early-stage Creative Digital entrepreneurs across the creative industries to include those in the TV, Film, Virtual production, Games, Animation, Content Development, Digital Arts, Immersive Technologies, Digital Design and Creative Technology. The Incubation programme will form a critical part of the support ecosystem required by screen industries in the region to further develop the west of Ireland as a hub for creative technology & content creation.

CREW is  collaboration between GMIT, Western Development Commission (WDC) and Galway Film Centre (GFC), and currently funded by Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, which will support the development of Creative Digital enterprises providing highly skilled jobs, distributed across the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) and Údarás GTEIC hub network, contributing to  economic growth in the region.

CREW’s board of Directors includes Dr. Paddy Tobin (Head of the GMIT School of Design and Creative Arts), Gillian Buckley (Investment Manager at Western Development Commission), and Alan Duggan (Manager of Galway Film Centre), along with TG4’s Director General Alan Esslemont, and is chaired by Bernard Kirk, CEO (Camden Education Trust).

Click here for more information about CREW.

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