Royal Holloway has been announced as the lead partner for a National Lab for research and development (R&D) in Creative Technology to ensure the UK’s screen and performance industries have the research infrastructure and skills to compete globally.
The announcement of the Convergent Screen Technologies and Performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) was made by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, and involves a £51.1m investment by the UK Government in Applied Research.
Building on Royal Holloway's StoryFutures expertise in creative industries R&D and by bringing together world leaders in applied technology research and story, Royal Holloway will support innovation for the UK’s Creative Industries.
Partnered with Pinewood Studios, BT, disguise, the University of Surrey/ Surrey Institute for People-Centred (PAI), Abertay University, Surrey County Council and the National Film and Television School, the CoSTAR National Lab will place R&D at the heart of UK storytelling and storytelling at the heart of R&D.
Professor James Bennett, Director of CoSTAR National Lab at Royal Holloway, said: “By creating a leading-edge R&D facility at the heart of the UK Creative Industries, our research teams will be working with the creative sector to build the game-changing technologies and experiences of tomorrow.
“Our aim is to deliver a new kind of public innovation value that makes Metaverse and AI technologies more inclusive, sustainable and democratic. And through all this, ensure the UK can stay ahead of the curve as the world leader in creative innovation"
Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor Julie Saunders, added: “We are very excited Royal Holloway will be leading the CoSTAR National Lab, which will put the UK at the forefront of applied research in advanced computing technologies for the creative sector.
“We are very proud to bring together this unique partnership to support creative sector innovation by unlocking the world-class research of our University. We hope this will open a new chapter in applied R&D collaborations between industry and researchers.”
The Lab will be based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire and will include dedicated studio space, featuring a large-scale virtual production system, a 5G/6G private network, a motion capture rig, and a state-of-the-art creative Artificial Intelligence (AI) compute facility accessible across the UK.
The National Lab will create an innovation architecture to enable the UK screen and performance sectors to lead the world in future waves of advanced computing technologies. This will be done by placing the nations’ leading-edge advantage in creativity at the core of the CoSTAR National Lab, providing a centre for innovation that is unmatched anywhere in the UK.
The CoSTAR programme provides researchers, companies and institutions across the UK with the infrastructure they need to conduct world-class research and development (R&D) in screen and performance technology.
CoSTAR will support the design, development and creation of state-of-the-art facilities, resources and expertise to underpin the long-term competitiveness of the UK’s screen and performance sectors.
The CoSTAR Lab is part of a national network comprising of a National Lab, three Network Labs and a Foresight Lab, with £75.6 million of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with additional private co-investment.