Government to invest £10 million to support UK creative industries

06 February 2008

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Small companies will benefit from a £10 million investment by the Technology Strategy Board to support innovation across the UK's creative industries.

The government-funded Technology Strategy Board has announced that it is to support innovative research and development projects that will exploit digital technologies to increase the competitiveness of the UK's creative industries sector - and there will be a particular focus on small and micro companies, with specially targeted schemes.

The result of the projects could be the development of new tools, techniques, processes and technologies that could be widely used in one or more of the creative industries.

The Technology Strategy Board is already supporting technology developments in areas such as electronics, pervasive computing, modelling and visualisation.  The new funding will build on this investment, offering a potential exploitation route for technologies emerging from this research, and will be appropriate to a number of creative industry sectors, including:

•·        Content industries - computer games developers and publishers, video, film, TV, radio, music, publishing and rich media.

•·        Product and fashion design

•·        Architecture and interior design.

•·        Broadcast, broadband and telecommunications service providers.

•·        Culture, visitor attraction, events and tourism.

•·        Advertising, design services and marketing.

The Technology Strategy Board will invest £7 million to provide partial funding for high quality innovative research and development projects, which will involve businesses working collaboratively with other businesses and/or with research organisations and academic institutions.

In recognition of the significant contribution that small companies make in the creative industries sector, and the challenges they face in finding both the time and resources to explore and develop new ideas, the Technology Strategy Board has introduced two new initiatives to run alongside existing collaborative research and development schemes. 

The Technology Strategy Board will invest £3 million in these new schemes, which will only be available to small and medium-sized companies:

•·        Feasibility Studies - These will provide funding of up to £15,000 to allow small creative companies to explore initial ideas and to develop them into more tangible proposals that may secure more substantive investment.

•·        Fasttack Projects - These will provide funding of up to £50,000 for smaller projects over a shorter timescale than the usual collaborative research and development programme.

Explaining why the Technology Strategy Board has decided to invest in research and development in the creative industries sector, Chief Executive Iain Gray said: "The UK is recognised as a global leader across the creative industries.  These now contribute approaching 8% of the country's GVA, while the sector is growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole. Technology has a significant role to play both as an enabler but also as a potential source of disruption.  If the UK is to maintain and extend its role as the world's creative hub, we need to develop the new and innovative technologies that will support the sector in the years to come and continue to exploit well established technologies in new ways"

Turning to the new schemes to support small companies, Iain Gray said "The creative industries sector is largely fragmented and is dominated by small and micro companies.  To support the sector, we need to provide products and services that suit their needs.  This is why we are introducing the Feasibility Study and Fastrack Project schemes."

To apply for funding for collaborative research and development, where projects are typically 2 to 3 years duration, companies must send expressions of interest by 3 May 2008, and their full proposal by the final closing date of 12 June 2008.  Applications from SMEs for funding for Feasibility Studies will be accepted anytime between 3 March 2008 and 18 August 2008, while applications under the Fasttrack Scheme will be accepted anytime between 2 June 2008 and 17 November 2008.

Download pdf of full press release including notes for editors


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