Creative Cardiff has won an Innovation in Partnership award for its approach to building lasting partnerships at the 2019 Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards at the National Museum of Wales on Monday, 3 June.

Creative Cardiff, launched in 2015, boasts 2550 members made up of creative companies, organisations and freelancers across the Cardiff City Region. 

Founded by Professor Justin Lewis and Professor Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University's Creative Economy Unit, the network was established through partnerships with three founder members: BBC Cymru Wales, Cardiff Council and Wales Millennium Centre. These partnerships laid the foundations for the network's commitment to city-wide collaborations and growth. 

Professor Justin Lewis, co-founder of Creative Cardiff, said “We are delighted to have won the Innovation in Partnership prize at this year’s Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards. In three and a half years, Creative Cardiff has really developed into a force for creative good. It is our purpose to make Cardiff a capital of creativity and we have been striving to recognise that ambition by enabling collaborations, amplifying opportunities and encouraging innovation.

"Our recent award marks the largest AHRC grant the University has ever received, and places Creative Cardiff at the heart of creative industry innovation and R&D.”


In the four years since it was established, Creative Cardiff has successfully curated events, developed strong online presence with active jobs pages and an engaged social media following, worked on city-wide initiative with large-scale creative organisations and mapped the city's creative economy. It was also the engine room for successful bid for Industrial Strategy funding, Clwstwr, that established over 50 partnerships with broadcasters and companies across the creative industries. The bid aims to put innovation, research and development at the heart of the creative industries in Cardiff. 

Upon receiving the award Creative Economy Director, Sara Pepper, said: "Partnership work has been at the heart of everything we do at Creative Cardiff. It’s a real honour to be recognised for this award this evening. A sincere and heartfelt thanks to our partners who are here tonight: BBC Cymru Wales, Cardiff City Council and Wales Millennium Centre who were all founding members of Creative Cardiff, and I remember the conversations with all of them very early doors and they believed and had faith in what we were trying to achieve...and four years later, we’re still here and achieving amazing things.” 

Creative Cardiff's final word was a dedication to every member of the city’s vibrant creative community: “I think we should dedicate this recognition to the 2500 members, individuals and organisations, working in the creative industries making Cardiff and Wales the exciting, vibrant and truly creative city and nation that it is - diolch yn fawr.”   

The 21st annual Innovation and Impact awards showcased outstanding innovations with global impact. Organised by the Cardiff University Innovation Network, the awards celebrated four winning finalists

  • Innovation in Partnership Award– ‘Developing Creative Cardiff – a Cardiff University-led network for the creative industries.’ The School of Journalism, Media and Culture’s Creative Economy Unit in collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales, Cardiff Council and Wales Millennium Centre.
  • Innovation in Business Award– ‘Inventory forecasting in circular economic reverse supply chains for re-manufacturing.’ North Wales company Qioptiq worked closely with Cardiff Business School to devise a novel approach to remanufacturing and demand forecasting.
  • Sustainable Innovation Award– ‘The world’s first integrated renewable energy/ ammonia-storage demonstrator.’ A Siemens-led project in collaboration with the School of Engineering, the UKRI Science and Technology Facilities Council and Oxford University with funding from Innovate UK.
  • Innovation in Healthcare Award – ‘Increasing awareness of the SIGNS of autism’ – The School of Psychology collaborated with the ASD National Development Team, Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to develop signposting information. 

The winner of the ‘People’s Choice’ award, announced on the evening, went to the Innovation in Healthcare category for their system that helps professionals spot the signs of autism in children. Researchers from the School of Psychology worked with Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and Public Health Wales to develop SIGNS – an acronym to help frontline specialists recognise autistic behaviours in children. Having been working on this system of diagnosis as well as raising awareness for autism for 25 years, the success of the project has led to its use in autism training around the world.