About the network

The South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN) is a £6.5 million project to expand the use of creative technologies across the south west of England. The network will offer three one-year funded programmes around the themes of Immersion, Automation and Data.

The project will develop a new, networked model of Knowledge Exchange for creative technologies innovation. It will do this by harnessing the expertise in creative technology research across the SW region to deliver a series of interdisciplinary R&D programmes that grow the capabilities and connections between the participating HEI and industry partners.

The collaboration will invest in interdisciplinary R&D fellowships and prototype production across three challenge areas: Immersion, Automation and Data. Our focus on creative technology brings together arts, design, computer sciences, engineering and business development to deliver new products and services.

Process

Over the next three (2018-2020) years the partnership will recruit three cohorts of fellows (academic, industry and new talent). Each cohort will run for twelve months and focus on one of three challenge areas: Immersion, Automation and Data.

The cohort will engage in an initial period of three months deep thinking around the challenge area exploring what’s new, what’s good, where the gaps in the market are, what the challenges are, and what the potentials are. The cohort will receive facilitation, producer support, and have time for individual research. Fellows will be expected to share their learning outwardly at the end of this period.

Following this deep research phase the partnership will invest £240k in making prototypes in response to the research findings. Fellows are encouraged to bid for this prototype investment. All fellows will be expected to continue through to the end of the theme as part of the cohort.

Value and impact

As a partnership we are excited about innovative uses of technologies that engage users in hybrid experiences that are ethical, promote wellbeing, connect us to one another and create value. The network is rooted in the creative industries but aims to make connections into other sectors. We will build creative capacity, generate shared knowledge and maximise potential for specific commercial impact.

A key focus will be to facilitate in-roads for creative technology and creative practices into other sectors. Together, we will produce commercial and social impacts across the challenge areas in a range of sectors including the creative industries, health and manufacturing.

Supports

The grant is part of Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund, which supports university collaboration and encourages commercialisation for products made through partnership 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.