The Southwest Creative Technology Network seeks to build links between researchers, businesses and investors with a focus on enhancing innovation in technology and enterprise.

About the project

The South West’s plan to be a world leader in the creative use of digital technology has received a significant boost, with the Government announcing a major funding award to strengthen the region-wide creative technology sector – and Bath Spa University will be one of the lead project partners.

The Government award comes via Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF), which encourages collaborative projects between universities and other partners to drive forward world-class commercialisation of higher education research and practice.

The South West project is one of just 18 selected for support from across England, and the only one which includes a focus on the creative industries. £4.6m has been awarded to the networking project from the CCF, with universities and other partners contributing an additional £1.8m.

The three-year project will focus on building better links between researchers, businesses and investors through activities such as joint research, seed funding for new business ideas, consultancy and training, the creation of new companies and social enterprises, and public and community engagement.

"We are delighted to be working with organisations across the South West on this innovative project which plays to our region's world-leading strengths. This funding will help initiate and strengthen collaborative projects between higher education and the wider community, generating new opportunities to transform how people engage with digital technology.”

Kate Pullinger, Director, Bath Spa's Centre for Culture and Creative Industries

Fellowship Themes

Year one: Immersion

Year One: Immersion (2018-19)

Emerging mixed reality technologies give developers, artists and performers new ways to blend the real and the virtual. The uses, design and implementation of immersive experiences offer key challenges across multiple domains. Many questions arise from the radical shift that placing virtual objects in real space creates. If the potential is to be fully realised in new markets and forms of cultural experience, bridges between the arts and digital technology, as well as between the marketplace and the academy, need to be built.

These new relationships will enable us to collectively address questions such as: What new understandings of immersion do we need? What blueprints do we need to ensure that immersive applications create convincing and easily accessible experiences? What technical challenges need solutions to support such experiences? What modes of storytelling are required? How can social immersive experiences be created? How do we ensure that the design and implementation of immersive experiences across multiple industrial sectors retain a core focus on human experience? What new products and services can be created?

Year two: Automation

Year three: Data

Academic fellowships: call for applicants

*Full call details for this year's theme of Immersion will be announced on Monday 11 June 2018.

The South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN) will offer three one-year funded programmes around the themes of Immersion, Automation & Data. As new technologies raise new challenges and opportunities for businesses, this partnership is designed to respond to industry needs across the creative industries, health and manufacturing sectors and drive productivity and innovation.

The grant is part of Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund, which supports university collaboration and encourages commercialisation of products made through partnerships with industry. This new network is led by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), in partnership with Watershed in Bristol, Kaleider in Exeter, Bath Spa University, the University of Plymouth and Falmouth University.

Each year-long programme will be led by a team of producers working across the region to build creative capacity, generate shared knowledge and maximise potential for specific commercial impact. 

Each programme will offer 24 R&D Fellowships worth £15,000 each (8 creative industry Fellowships, 8 academic Fellowships and 8 new talent residencies at graduate level). This fellowship programme will co-design a call for 8 prototype products or services with business partners worth £30,000 each.

Timeline of events

  • Applications will close at the end of July.
  • Brainstorming and thinking will occur between October - December 2018.
  • This will be followed by a sharing amongst the cohort, who will then co-design a call brief with the producers and University leads around what should be made in response to the brainstorm period.
  • They will then have a chance to pitch to this call for up to 8 x £30k prototyping grants
  • There will then be an Open Call for any remaining prototyping grants in January 2019
  • Prototyping for all participants will run through March, April and May 2019
  • An industry showcase will be held for all 8 prototypes in June 2019

The Automation and Data themes will run along a similar schedule across 2019-20 and 2020-21.

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