An ambitious project in Cardiff aiming to bring together UK broadcasters, small local businesses and freelancers to research and develop new production products and services for global markets is one of 17 UK research projects that will receive up to £50,000 of early stage funding, the UK Government announced today (Tuesday 11 August).
As the UK’s creative sector works to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the need for digital innovation has never been more critical. Cardiff is already internationally recognised for film and TV production; and the consortium, led by Cardiff University, plans to build on this regional strength to help create a global hub for media innovation. The project will look to develop new products and services for global markets, fuelling business and employment growth in the media sector.
The 17 projects receiving initial funding today through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund are located right across the UK. Cutting across a wide range of sectors such as the creative industries, construction, and clean energy, the proposals could help the UK to respond to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. If the early stages of development are successful, each project will be able to apply for a further investment of £10-50 million later this year.
It follows the announcement by the UK Government in June of the first wave of the Strength in Places Fund, which saw seven projects across the UK benefit from £400 million of UK Government and industry funding to develop their research projects. This included £25 million for a major new project in South Wales, CS Connected, which will drive innovation in critical sectors from communications to autonomous vehicles.
UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
We are backing our innovators with the support they need to turn great ideas into first-class industries, products and technologies.
I am delighted we are helping to kick start plans for Creative Capital, led by Cardiff University, which will build on the city’s strengths in film and TV production, helping to create jobs, while developing new skillsets and increased productivity across Wales.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
The Creative Cardiff project aims to bring together digital experts and innovators to help Wales become a hub for media innovation.
This investment will help the project to improve the flexibility of our world-class TV and film industry, allowing it to adapt to changing circumstances. Pioneering projects such as the one led by Cardiff University will also help to create high-skilled jobs across the country and boost our economic growth as we work towards our recovery.
Other projects receiving £50,000 early stage government funding include:
- HotScot, led by the University of Strathclyde, will provide low-cost, low carbon heat to Scottish homes and businesses by extracting energy from disused, flooded mines in Glasgow. By overseeing three new geothermal minewater projects, the consortium aims to deliver economic growth equivalent to £303 million and around 9,800 jobs across the Central Belt of Scotland.
- Midlands Advanced Ceramics for Industry 4.0, a consortium led by the materials company, Lucideon Group, will develop plans to establish the Midlands as a global leader in advanced ceramics, which are vital for key UK manufacturing sectors including energy, healthcare, and aerospace. Aiming to create over 4,000 jobs across the region by 2030, the project will use cutting edge digital modelling to bring new advanced ceramics technologies to market faster, with less energy usage and lower carbon emissions. This will help to improve the performance for next generation products including batteries, 5G communications and medical devices.
- South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator, led by the offshore renewable energy research company, Wave Hub, will build on Cornwall and Plymouth’s world-renowned excellence in offshore renewables business and research to fast track the building of large-scale floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea from 2025 onwards. This will enable the region to make a decisive contribution to Britain’s offshore wind target of 40 Gigawatts by 2030 and target a fivefold increase in Britain’s offshore wind exports.
UKRI Strength in Places Fund lead, David Sweeney, said:
Strength in Places is a flagship fund for UKRI. We welcome the focus of the UK Government’s R&D Roadmap in unlocking economic opportunities around local economy in more places around the UK.
I am delighted with the range of bids funded across the UK in the second wave of Strength in Places that will foster the local ecosystems to support innovation and sustained growth and strengthen collaboration between industry and our world-class research base.
Strength in Places Fund panel chair, Dame Kate Barker, said:
The bids provide further evidence of excellent research that meets business needs across the whole of the UK. They demonstrate great potential for industrial collaboration by bringing together consortia of business, research organisations and local leadership organisations to contribute to increased growth and productivity in areas of local economic activity.
Today’s funding forms part of the government’s ambitious commitment to increase public spending in research and development (R&D) by £22 billion by 2024/25, putting the UK on track to reach 2.4% of GDP being spent on R&D across the UK economy by 2027.
It follows the publication of the government’s R&D Roadmap last month, which set out plans to drive the country’s economic recovery through research and development and level up UK regions.