CreativeXR, developed by Digital Catapult and Arts Council England, is an acceleration programme designed for teams from the creative and technology sector who have strong, well-developed, ground-breaking creative ideas that need early-stage financing.
Up to 20 teams will be selected to receive £20,000 in prototype funding, alongside bespoke mentorship, workshops and introductions to the top financiers and commissioners in the global creative and immersive market at the annual Showcase and Market event.
This year, CreativeXR also welcomes two new exciting supporters: Epic Games and StoryFutures Academy.
Aligned goal of growing the XR industry, Epic Games has generously awarded CreativeXR with an Epic MegaGrant, which will be used to support up to five Unreal Engine projects.
As Storytelling Development Partner and with the aim of promoting innovation in storytelling in next generation technologies, StoryFutures Academy will provide bespoke mentorship to up to four companies in the cohort. All projects within the cohort will also get the option to take part in StoryFutures Academy Writers Room workshop, that explores storytelling in immersive environments.
The programme runs in two phases:
Prototype Phase (July 2020 – November 2020)
Teams will be expected to create their immersive prototype over this three-month period. They will also be expected to take part in bespoke workshops and mentorship (see below for dates). The end of Phase 1 will culminate with the Showcase and Market, where teams will pitch and showcase their prototypes and have 1-2-1 meetings with commissioners.
Production Phase (November 2020 – TBC)
Teams accepted onto the programme will be eligible to compete for further funding at the end of the prototype period. This funding will be limited and subject to a separate judging process and match funding conditions – details will be provided at a later stage.
As well as driving the development of new content formats, one of the key aims of the programme is to support ‘content-led R&D’ which allows organisations to develop riskier, content-focused projects that also contribute to the development of new skills, tools, IP and business opportunities.
CreativeXR supports a broad range of consumer-facing content ideas that are either cultural, entertainment, gaming – in some way creative. For more information please read the question What is meant by ‘immersive experience’ below.
Focused on the creative industries, CreativeXR works with the best creative teams to help develop concepts and prototypes of immersive content by offering access to:
CreativeXR has received an Epic MegaGrant, which will be used to finance prototype development of five Unreal Engine projects. Additionally, select projects will benefit from direct support from Epic Games as part of the programme. StoryFutures Academy will bring narrative storytelling expertise, and mentor up to four companies in the areas of story development, design and continuing narrative.
*Timelines are approximate and can be subject to change
No – just the team leads need to attend (approximately two people per team). Reasonable travel can be claimed as part of the programme costs, so please include this estimate in your application.
CreativeXR is currently making plans to deliver workshops both virtually and, if the situation allows, in person.
The Showcase and Market event is hosted at the end of the 12-week programme, and is a the perfect opportunity for the CreativeXR teams to participate, pitch and host private demos and meetings with commissioners at the event.
Successful applicants will be expected to supply the following key deliverables over a 12-week period:
This working proof-of-concept should provide an immersive example of the core ideas to help inspire commissioners creatively, as well as to give them the confidence that it will be technically deliverable. It should therefore:
Please note: Teams must be willing to work with Digital Catapult technical team to validate the technical build plans prior to and during the build
CreativeXR Prototype Phase is run as a procurement, not as de minimis. So the funding you would receive from us as a CreativeXR participant this year would not count as de minimis.
A complete set of pitch material, in written and verbal presentation form, in preparation for the final Showcase and Market event, to include:
20 second linear video teaser/showreel (or audio-only alternative) that can be used to demonstrate your experience in a ‘non immersive’ setting
You won’t be required to work from Digital Catapult offices during the programme. We expect you to have the facilities to produce your experience already.
For the duration of the programme, use of the Immersive Labs in Belfast, Brighton, London, MediaCityUK, and North East Tees Valley (subject to availability and site terms).
Participants will receive details to book use of the labs.
The funding must be used for direct resourcing and service costs involved with producing the content. It should not be used for purchasing production hardware (you should already have the capability to produce immersive content).
We will be considering costing plans in the judging of applicants.
Yes, funding may also be used to cover reasonable transport costs to and from mandatory programme events in London.
At the Showcase and Market event in November 2020 there is an opportunity to pitch to commissioners and form further collaborations with third parties. However, there is no guarantee of success.
All teams accepted onto the Programme will also be eligible to compete for further funding at the end of the prototype period via the CreativeXR Programme, in order to complete their projects. This funding will be subject to a separate judging process and match funding conditions – details will be provided at a later stage.
This funding is limited and it is likely that only a small number of projects will be funded in this way.
Here are the basic requirements to take part in CreativeXR:
If you previously took part just in the market portion of the CreativeXR Showcase and Market 2019, you can still apply for CreativeXR, provided that you are still in the prototyping stage of your project and CreativeXR funds will be used for this purpose.
The application from will seek for more details about your:
The criteria will be presented as statements. Each of the criteria has the same weight.
The judges will respond by indicating how strongly they accept these statements.
The final selection decision will also consider applicants’ projects variety and welcome applicants from underrepresented groups to ensure a well-balanced and differentiated portfolio of projects.
Unfortunately, because of the high volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide feedback on CreativeXR applications.
At this stage, you just need to complete the online application form without sending us over a business plan. If you are one of the 20 companies/organisations chosen to participate, then you will be expected to prepare your prototype and business plan within the three month programme (see above FAQ).
The application information will only be used for the purposes of the Programme and its evaluation, and will only be retained for the duration of the Programme (one year), and for participants on the Programme for the evaluation period (maximum five years) and otherwise to comply with legal requirements.
If you have applied to CreativeXR before and haven’t previously been accepted onto the programme, you are eligible to apply again. Re-submissions of applications previously not accepted on to the programme are also eligible.
However, extensions of projects that have previously been accepted onto the programme will not be eligible.
Each idea must be represented by a unique lead applicant. A company or individual can be named as a collaborator on more than one application, but may only be a lead applicant once.
A business is welcome to participate in several bids, as long as they are confident the work could be delivered should they all be successful.
You are free to propose any sort of immersive hardware to run your immersive experience on. However, we will be judging on accessibility (how you will deliver it to your suggested target audience) and feasibility and therefore if your hardware choice negatively impacts either of these, it may not be suitable.
Although ‘immersive’ is a broad term that can encompass many fields within arts, culture and technology, in the context of CreativeXR, this refers to experiences enabled specifically by:
It is the focus of this programme to explore the potential these enabling technologies can have on the UK creative industries markets as well as the audiences that will be inspired by this content.
A good definition of immersive technologies can be found HERE.
This may involve delivery of experiences via Head Mounted Displays (HMDs), mobile AR experiences, other immersive displays such as projection walls or domes that don’t require an HMD. Applicants will be expected to have access to this equipment and explain how this could be delivered practically for users.
Immersive audio technology includes the use of spatial sound (for example, binaural or ambisonic rendering) or other augmented audio techniques. Audio-only projects are eligible (please see FAQ on audio-only projects).
CreativeXR supports multi-skilled teams in the development of creative, consumer-facing content experiences enabled by immersive technologies as described above.
The content and user experience must be designed specifically for the chosen medium, and be enabled and enhanced by one of these emerging technologies. Content may be purely digital or, in the case of location-based projects, it may incorporate an element of live performance or physical set if desired.
The selected content experiences may be intended for different distribution methods, including:
Whatever the distribution method, applicants will be expected to explain who the intended audience is, why it will appeal to them, and how they would access it.
The Covid-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented time in human history, which has caused the world to respond in unique ways. Arts, culture, entertainment and the collective and creative inspiration it brings is now needed more than ever.
At CreativeXR, we encourage applicants to reflect on how the immersive landscape will pivot and grow. We ask that creators use all their ingenuity to think about what production methodologies they will safely be able to use as they produce their content, and how that in turn will affect the final output.
Furthermore, while the ethos of the brief still remains the same, and we are hopeful that location based entertainment format will thrive in the future, we would like to also encourage applications that consider the current situation in which we are living.
Examples of distribution formats that are currently relevant could be:
This list is by no means exhaustive – we encourage you to use your creativity in thinking about how your project will reach your audience.
Yes, but the content must have an ‘immersive-first’ (VR/AR/MR) focus, and have an enabling immersive technology as a key component of its delivery.
Content may be purely digital or, in the case of location-based projects, it may incorporate an element of live performance if desired.
Digital Catapult will provide you with a space for your demo. In the unfortunate case we cannot accommodate your full demo due to lack of space, additional demos requiring specific interactive or in-situ arrangements can be organised separately. If this is the case, during the showcase, the team will be required to provide a video or other substitution to showcase the demo.
Yes, gaming content is eligible. As with all applications, please bear in mind the intention is to explore new formats that are specifically built for the immersive medium and for the arts and cultural space.
For example, content that could be considered an incremental step beyond something that already exists, such as a VR version of an existing game is unlikely to be accepted.
Yes, immersive audio is a key part of any immersive experience, and all projects are encouraged to give thought to the technologies that can enable both visual and auditory immersion.
We welcome applications that make use of innovative, immersive audio technology such as spatial sound (e.g. binaural or ambisonic rendering) or augmented audio techniques. This could either be as a combined audio-visual VR, AR or MR experience, or as an audio-only project.
No, this programme supports new prototypes. Mature prototypes or content that has already been on public display or release is not eligible.
We won’t accept proposals that have already been funded to create a prototype that is in a mature state. We will however, accept early proposals that have already secured some additional seed funding, but details must be given as to how and why this programme will provide additional benefit to the project.
Yes, you have to be registered with Companies House. We will consider bidders that hold any legal form of business (e.g. ltd company, sole trader, consortium).
Collaborations may include international contributors, but to complete the Programme (i) the team must have an establishment in the UK, and (ii) the majority of work should be carried out in the UK and teams need to be able to commit to attending the three workshops (online and/or in person), and Showcase and Market event hosted in London between July and November 2020 (see FAQ “Key dates for the programme”).
We welcome international collaborations, however the majority of the work must be carried out in the UK.
Members of a University are welcome to apply but they must ensure they have personal rights over the IP they are submitting. Therefore we suggest you form a new entity (with a business account). Remember, we will be judging the entry based on your skill and ability to build what you have proposed.
Individuals from University can apply but they must own the IP, not the University.
Yes. We realise that creating a high quality immersive experience is not a simple process. Therefore, we are looking for teams that already have the skills, equipment and experience to produce these experiences, and we will judge accordingly.
No, this programme does not specifically facilitate this – we expect teams to already be formed at the point of submitting the application. If you are interested in networking events, we have partner organisations including Immerse UK and our regional partners who may be able to help.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
CreativeXR is equity free and there are no fees associated with participation.
No, this programme does not seek to own or retain any of your IP. We do require a free licence to use your product openly in our Centres (but will be protected and doesn’t get distributed beyond use in our Centres). Between any collaborative partners you are expected to make appropriate IP agreements that you are comfortable with.
Your application will be screened privately by Digital Catapult and the judging panel. Your ideas will be shared in confidence and we will respect that and ask judges to do so too.
We will not remove from applications any proprietary labels or copyright assertions. Unsuccessful applications will be deleted from our systems at the conclusion of the programme. However, because your application will be transmitted over the internet we cannot guarantee its security.
For practical reasons, please don’t ask us or our partners to sign an NDA. We can only achieve these kinds of activities if we have the trust of the tech community so it is not in our interest to release or take a share in any of your IP.