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Ambitious plans for digital technologies awarded seed funding

21 March 2019

Plans for a world-leading cyber innovation network and a new creative media hub are one step closer to reality after a successful funding bid led by the University of Bristol in partnership with the region’s universities, businesses and community organisations.

Building on the city’s strengths in media production and technology, the proposed My World Creative Cluster, led by Professor Dave Bull, will provide a new platform for collaborative R&D projects and talent pipelines, with state of the art facilities.

Similarly geared towards propelling regional growth, the Cyber Wales and West proposal, led by Professor Awais Rashid, provides an industry-focused test bed and innovation environment harnessing the experience, talent and entrepreneurial skill from across the region to create new opportunities in cyber security that will be of service to society.

Both proposals involved collaborations with the universities of Bath, Bath Spa, UWE, Cardiff and Gloucestershire; the Watershed; Axis Animation, BDH Productions, John Dower Productions, Mustang Films, Films at 59, Zubr, Limina Immersive, Vid Communications, Aardman Animations, BBC and Opposable Group.

The two projects are among 24 across the UK to be awarded up to £50,000 each in early-stage funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund and represent the latest step in delivering the University’s engagement in driving the regeneration of Bristol’s economy.

“Both of these projects could attract significant investment and create job opportunities for the region, as well as build on Bristol’s reputation as a centre for digital and creative innovation,” said Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah.

“The creative and digital sectors already pervade every aspect of our lives, economy and society.   The West of England Region is internationally recognised for the research and innovation in these sectors which is reinforced by this award.

“Yet there’s a great deal of untapped potential and new risks that we need to understand. With these new partnerships, we envisage creating an ambitious and practical platform that will help us explore further, working with more diverse communities to collectively make an impact in research and innovation.”

All 24 teams to be awarded seed funding by UKRI now have until later in the year to produce a more substantive bid for funding to see their proposals through to completion.  Between four and eight of the strongest bids will receive between £10m and £50m each.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (New Campus Development) Guy Orpen added: “Temple Quarter will be a great venue to support these exciting ventures – they exemplify the collaborative, inclusive, enterprising culture we are seeking to promote in the new campus. We look forward to enabling our researchers and students to work with, learn from, and create value for the partners in communities and enterprises both large and small.”

The Strength in Places Fund was announced in the modern Industrial Strategy in November 2017 and is a cross-council UKRI programme in partnership with the higher education funding bodies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Office for Students.

Further information

The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus offers an opportunity to reimagine the future of our University as one of the world's great civic universities. It will not only provide economic growth and job creation for the region, but will allow the University of Bristol to develop a new relationship with the city, new educational and research opportunities, and secure the University's future for generations to come.

UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UKRI brings together the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Innovate UK; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Research England; and Science and Technology Facilities Council.

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