A “creative media powerhouse” is set to generate more than 700 new jobs in Bristol and “supercharge” the economy by an estimated £223m.
The MyWorld hub, launched thanks to £46m in grant funding, will help secure the region’s position as an international trailblazer in screen-based media, according to the cross-sector consortium leading the project.
The “visionary initiative” will develop major new research and development (R&D) facilities and forge partnerships to connect regional and national partners with global tech giants, including Netflix, Google, and Microsoft.
The University of Bristol is leading the project, alongside a collective of organisations and businesses, including the BBC, Aardman Animations, BT, Digital Catapult, Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Royal Trust.
The aim is to pioneer new digital formats and technologies to create innovative experiences across fiction, documentary, games and live performance.
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.
“This is the beginning of an exciting journey, which will align research and development endeavours across technology and the creative arts, to help businesses realise their innovation potential, raise their international profile, and maximise the advantages of new technologies.”
MyWorld is one of seven research and innovation projects in the UK to receive a share of £186m government investment, backed by a further £230 million from private firms and research institutions.
The new creative hub has been awarded £30m from the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund and a further £16m from an alliance of more than 30 industry and academic partners.
The five-year scheme is due to start by the end of the year. It will forge collaborations between academic institutions and creative industries to progress technological innovation, creative excellence, inclusive cultures, and knowledge sharing.
In collaboration with the University of Bath, UWE Bristol, and Bath Spa University, the project will provide advanced training programmes and talent development feeding into an extensive knowledge exchange network.
Professor Hugh Brady, vice-chancellor and president of the University of Bristol, said: “This funding award is tremendous news for the university, the city of Bristol, and the entire South West region, particularly at a time of economic uncertainty that could hit the creative sector hard.
“In recent weeks, screen-based technologies have transformed the way we interact with each other professionally and personally, providing a lifeline in so many different ways. Uniting Bristol’s world-leading interdisciplinary research with the very best creative talent, locally and further afield, will strengthen and expand these relationships, allowing us to collectively cross new frontiers.”
Business secretary Alok Sharma added: “The funding will ensure some of our country’s most promising R&D projects get the investment they need to take off and thrive.”
Main photo courtesy of the University of Bristol
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