News story

Immersive audience experiences: apply for funding

Businesses can apply for a share of £17 million to test immersive experiences with mass audiences or to develop new ideas for the creative industries.

Animation of the audience of the future
The £17 million competition will invite the creative industries to test and come up with new ideas for immersive experiences.

Innovate UK has up to £17 million to invest in projects to test and generate new ideas for immersive experiences for audiences and transform the creative industries.

There are 2 parts to this competition. Up to £16 million is available for 4 demonstrator projects for immersive experiences with audiences of more than 100,000 people.

A further £1 million is available for early-stage projects that seek to understand customer needs for immersive experiences and the tools needed to deliver them.

Designing for the future audience

The funding is part of the audience of the future programme within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Immersive experiences such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality have the potential to revolutionise the way we interact with the world. Industries that could benefit include advertising and marketing, architecture, fashion, film and television, gaming, publishing, museums, and music and performing arts.

The UK has world-class creative industries and expertise to apply new immersive experiences and make the most of this market opportunity.

This competition is part of a wider £33 million investment that includes demonstration projects, research and development and an industry centre of excellence.

Demonstrator projects

Demonstration projects must explore new ways of communication with mass audiences using new immersive technologies and experiences that are a significant advance on the state of the art in the chosen area. They should:

  • reach a public audience of more than 100,000
  • show a high level of innovation and scale that could transform the sector
  • generate audience and consumer information that could be used to test the viability of new business models
  • show that they could be replicated across the creative industries

Areas with strong potential could include moving images, access to live sporting events, visitor experiences in museums and galleries, and music and theatre performance. You must be able to access or use globally-recognised intellectual property (IP).

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 21 May 2018, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 1 August 2018
  • projects must be led by a business working with other businesses or researchers and include at least one SME
  • we expect total project costs to be between £5 million and £10 million and for projects to last up to 2 years
  • you must start your project by 1 November 2018 and end by 31 December 2020
  • businesses could attract up to 70% of their project costs
  • a briefing event will take place on 21 May 2018

Design foundations

Early-stage projects should use human-centred design and look at audience behaviour to develop ideas for new products and services. Particular areas could include:

  • advancing the state-of-the-art with immersive experiences that are desirable and fit-for-purpose
  • producing high-quality immersive content cheaper, faster and in a way that is more accessible
  • improving physical devices such as eyewear and controllers, or haptic feedback
  • new digital platforms and services to deliver immersive content

Successful projects will have an opportunity to apply for funding in 2019 to further develop their ideas.

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 21 May 2018, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 4 July 2018
  • projects must be led by a business working alone or in collaboration with other businesses, researchers or cultural institutions and must include at least one SME
  • we expect total project costs to be between £20,000 and £60,000 and to last between 2 and 6 months
  • businesses could attract up to 70% of their costs
  • a briefing event will take place on 21 May 2018
Published 8 May 2018