The UK government has announced almost £150m investment in new R&D labs focussed on developing virtual production for film, TV and live events.

The plans are part of the government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision developed with the Creative Industries Council, that aims to “maximise the growth of the creative industries by £50 billion by 2030, creating one million extra jobs and delivering a creative careers promise that builds a pipeline of future talent.”

Four new research and development facilities will be set up to drive the development of screen technology and on-set virtual production, with £63 million of new industry investment announced on top of the government’s £75.6 million investment. The national lab will be based at Pinewood Studios with regional labs in Yorkshire, Dundee and Belfast

UKRI’s Convergent Screen Technologies and performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) programme is “expected to create more than 820 new jobs across the UK.”

Partner organisations including BT, the National Film and Television School, Vodafone, Studio Ulster and Screen Yorkshire will invest at least £63.3 million in CoSTAR. The programme will also include an Insight and Foresight Unit led by Goldsmiths and the BFI.

The national lab is to be led by Royal Holloway, University of London. Core partners are Pinewood Studios, disguise, BT, Surrey County Council, Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership,  University of Surrey, Abertay University and the NFTS.

The West Yorkshire lab will be led by York University and located at Production Park Studios, West Yorkshire. Core partners are Production Park, Screen Yorkshire, Vodafone, Wakefield Council and North Yorkshire LEP.

The Dundee lab will be led by Abertay University and located at Waters Edge Studios. Core partners will be Codebase, Edinburgh University, Interface, Scottish Enterprise, 4J Studios

The Belfast lab will be led by Ulster University and based at Studio Ulster. Core partners are BBC Northern Ireland, Belfast Harbour, Humain Ltd, Northern Ireland Screen, Studio Ulster

The Insight and Foresight Unit consortium is led by Goldsmiths, University of London with the  BFI, University of Edinburgh, Loughborough University, Julies Bicycle, Olsberg SPI, Arup Group.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “The government is backing our creatives to maximise the potential of the creative industries. This Sector Vision is about driving innovation, attracting investment and building on the clusters of creativity across the country. And from first days at school to last days of work, we will nurture the skills needed to build a larger creative workforce to harness the talent needed for continued success.”

Jon Creamer

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.