AHRC – National Capability for R&D in Screen and Performance

Closing Date: 02/02/2023

Convergent Screen Technologies And performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) funding to host national research and development (R&D) facilities to drive innovation and creativity in the UK’s screen and performance industries.

This six-year capital programme will design, develop and build state-of-the-art facilities, resources and expertise to underpin the long-term competitiveness of the UK screen and performance sector. It will provide a highly capable R&D infrastructure that enables researchers, companies and institutions across the UK access to the facilities, capabilities and insight necessary to ensure that they can conduct world class R&D in the application of current and future waves of advanced computing technologies. These technologies will transform the means of production across the screen, performance and allied sectors of the creative industries.

The CoSTAR infrastructure and facilities will also:

  • Lead and coordinate the technological development of the UK screen and performance sectors developing new methods, solutions, processes, products and experiences
  • Build, strengthen and deepen the UK creative technology ecosystem including the pipeline for research talent and skills
  • Maximise arising economic opportunities:
    • to support the commercialisation of creative technology and creative content intellectual property, products and services
    • to support the formation and growth of highly capable creative technology firms
  • Make a positive long-term contribution to the development of the UK screen and performance industries across the UK

All applications to this funding opportunity must demonstrate how they will meet these objectives.

Funding will be awarded in two lots which together will make up the core of the CoSTAR infrastructure.

Lot 1: The CoSTAR national R&D lab

Lot 1 will be a grant of £51.1 million over 6 years, to design, build, develop and test a national, state-of-the-art research, development and innovation facility for the screen and performance industries.

The successful consortium will set out a programme to:

  • Design, build and fit out 1 state-of-the art creative R&D facility, including relevant technology infrastructure. This facility could constitute a refurbishment or new build and must:
    • be co-sited with a major studio or production
    • focus on applied research (technology readiness levels 3 to 6), with a strong internal technology development capability
    • manage the R&D laboratory facility, including staff resourcing (research, engineering, technical, management) for a period of 6 years
  • Support small and medium-sized enterprises participation and use of the facilities by industry partners and researchers
  • Deliver and support a series of demonstrator or pilot projects to pump-prime market driven access to the facility, including operational support and expertise. These will be ambitious collaborative R&D projects using any elements of the CoSTAR infrastructure to ensure market driven access to the facility, including operational support and expertise
  • Support and house a knowledge exchange, commercialisation and enterprise unit at the national lab capable of supporting commercialisation of developments arising from the infrastructure including intellectual property, process innovation and new business models
  • Develop and implement model to secure external funding for the national R&D lab and ensure long-term financial sustainability

Lot 2: Networked labs

Lot 2 will comprise grants totaling £12.6 million for the design, fit out and testing of up to 3 network labs for a period of 6 years. The successful bidding consortia for these facilities will set out a programme that will:

  • Design and fit out of state-of-the art creative R&D facilities including relevant technology infrastructure. These facilities may constitute a refurbishment or extension of an existing facility and must be co-sited with a screen production facility, studio or performance company
  • Focus on near market research and innovation (technology readiness levels 6 to 9) and serve an identified geographic or sectoral community (or possibly both)
  • Collaborate with the national lab to identify opportunities and needs for coordinated R&D programmes and disseminate national lab research outcomes
  • Propose and contribute to demonstrator or pilot programmes with the national lab
  • Provide access to knowledge exchange, commercialisation and enterprise functions for network lab partners
  • Manage the R&D laboratory facilities, including staff resourcing for a period of 6 years
  • Develop and implement a model to secure external co-investment for the network labs to ensure long-term financial sustainability

The provision of a data, insight and foresight unit to complete the infrastructure will be the subject of a future AHRC funding opportunity.

Funding body Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Maximum value £63,600,000
Reference ID S24392
Category Arts and Humanities
Fund or call Fund