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£48M MyWorld award will address key psychological questions about audience

Press release issued: 26 June 2020

The University of Bristol had been awarded £46 million for a new project called MyWorld. The award will develop major new Research and Development (R&D) facilities and partnerships connecting regional creative industries and national partners with major global players including Netflix, Google, and Microsoft. A major strand in the program of work will be understanding audience experience and engagement.

Professor Iain Gilchrist, who is a Co-applicant on the award, said:

‘Experimental psychologists tend to study participants in a state of boredom. However, in the last 5 years we have become interested in the very opposite: the state of immersion. We have probably all had the experience of becoming immersed in a film or book - time passes without us noticing and we may even forget to eat! Film makers and content creators really want to understand what factors determine when and how immersion occurs. The answer lies in applying our knowledge of the whole range of sensory, perceptual, and cognitive processes. Immersion is fundamentally a psychological phenomenon and it is critical to the success of most media experiences. With this award there is a real opportunity to work with the world-class expertise that exists in the school to address this question.’

The MyWorld creative hub has been awarded £30m from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) with a further £16m coming from an alliance of more than 30 industry and academic partners joining forces in the five-year scheme due to start by the end of the year.

Professor David Bull, MyWorld Lead and Director of Bristol Vision Institute, said: “The South West is already a creative capital in the UK and MyWorld aims to position the region amongst the best in the world, driving inward investment, increasing productivity and delivering important employment and training opportunities.”

The BBC, Aardman Animations, BT, Digital Catapult, and Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Royal Trust, along with a host of other creative companies and sector organizations, are all part of the unique cross-sector consortium.

Investment from partner universities, comprising the University of Bath, University of the West of England, and Bath Spa University, will provide advanced training programmes and talent development feeding into an extensive knowledge exchange network. Accessible facilities are also planned, with Bristol’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, The Bottle Yard Studios, and Bath Spa University as key focal.

Further information

More details about the award can be found on the University of Bristol's news page

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