About the programme

  • What is CreativeXR?

    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 – December 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 (December 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.

  • What are the objectives of CreativeXR?

    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.

  • What are the benefits of CreativeXR?

    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:

    • Prototype funding – Up to £20k to develop an immersive proof-of-concept prototype and supporting material
    • Facilities – For the duration of the programme, the opportunity to make use of Digital Catapult Immersive Labs in Belfast, Brighton, London, MediaCityUK, and North East Tees Valley (subject to availability and site terms)
    • Peer to peer learning – Part of a cohort of up to 20 teams of talented creators from across the creative and technology sector
    • Business expertise – Support network of industry experts, high calibre peers and commissioning bodies to help develop impactful experiences and build new business models
    • Pitch and writing workshops – Focused workshops to help develop your concept and pitch
    • Mentorship from Epic Games – Up to five teams will receive direct support from Epic on building prototypes in Unreal Engine
    • Mentorship from StoryFutures Academy – Up to four teams with narrative-led projects will receive bespoke mentorship on developing script and narrative
    • Technical monitoring – Engineering expertise to increase confidence in the prototype build and push the boundaries of the technology – this monitoring also includes inputs from AI and 5G technologists
    • Showcase and Market event – Opportunity to participate, pitch and host private demos and meetings with commissioners at the event in December 2020
    • Development funding – 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.
  • Who is CreativeXR developed by?

    Now in its third year, CreativeXR is run as a partnership between Digital Catapult and Arts Council England.

    This year CreativeXR welcomes two new supporters to the programme: Epic Games and StoryFutures Academy.

    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.

  • What are the key* dates for the programme?

    Open call live: 5 March – 17 May 2020
    Announce selected companies: 6 July 2020
    Programme starts: 6 July 2020 – 05 October 2020
    Workshops: July – September 2020
    Prototyping phase: July – October 2020
    Technical assessment: October 2020
    CreativeXR Showcase and Market event: 1-3 December 2020

    *Timelines are approximate and can be subject to change

CreativeXR application – Process

  • Who can apply?

    Here are the basic requirements to take part in CreativeXR:

    • The lead company* has to be registered with Companies House in the UK (or equivalent, for example establishment in the UK and the majority of work must be carried out in the UK. In the case of international co-productions, the work carried out outside the UK must be proportionate to the amount of funding brought in by the international company)
    • The lead company* must have a business bank account
    • The team has to have two or more team members with a range of previous immersive content expertise (including production, technical, creative, artistic skills and/or track record)
    • The team must be able to attend all the activities (for example, workshop and final Showcase and Market event hosted in London for the duration of the programme). Please note dates are subject to change:
      > Workshops: July – October 2020
      > Showcase and market: November 2020
    • If you have applied to CreativeXR before or have 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.

    *Lead company


    • You may enter as a collaborative team, but there must be a lead company that will contract with us and get paid.
    • All other collaborators involved must be named in the application process. It is the responsibility of the lead company to arrange any collaboration agreements or subcontracts as necessary and to comply with the CreativeXR terms and conditions.
    • Your collaborators may be with international companies. Co-productions are welcomed although the work carried out outside the UK must be proportionate to the amount of funding brought in by the international company.
    • You can be named as a collaborator on more than one application, but can only be a ‘lead’ company once.
    • We may carry out due diligence on the lead and any collaboration companies so they must be willing to submit documentation upon request (including but not limited to bank account statements for the business and personal references).
    • 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.
  • How do I apply to join the programme?
    • Complete the short registration of interest form on this website
    • An email will be sent to the address indicated in the short registration of interest form with the link to the full application form
    • If you would like to apply to a specific strand please ensure you tick the appropriate box in the full application form
  • What information we ask for in the application form?

    The application from will seek for more details about your:

    • Contact information (for example, Company name, Full Name, email address)
    • Idea (for example, strength, originality, relevance, scalability)
    • Team (for example, team experience and skillset)
    • Technical production and delivery proposed (for example, relevance, suitability of proposed technical delivery)
    • Business production and delivery proposed (for example, clearly identified target audience, opportunity for business model discovery, viability of financial, partnership and distribution plan, scale of the prototype vs efforts)
    • Ability to commit to attending our workshops and events
  • What are the judging criteria?

    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.

    • Appropriate team experience – The team is equipped to deliver the proposed prototype and has appropriate creative, immersive production, technology and business skills and know-how.
    • Strength of the idea – The idea is adventurous, well-developed, demonstrates strong vision and application.
    • Originality of the idea – The idea is out of the box and likely to push boundaries for immersive content.
    • Functionality – The idea will be very well represented through the end prototype.
    • Suitability/Relevance – The idea described uses suitable immersive technology and promises a good benchmark. The idea is also likely to be suitable for further funding opportunities.
    • Value for money – The idea’s combination of cost, quality and sustainability is well balanced. The scale of the prototype is reasonable with respect to the effort proposed.
    • Feasibility of prototype delivery – The technical delivery of the proposal is clear and achievable in the time frame and budget. This includes the design and build of the prototype, as well as the hardware specifications for distribution.
    • Potential to reach a chosen target audience – The proposal shows a good understanding of a clearly identified target audience and their unique characteristics.
    • Route-to-market ambition – The proposal has a viable distribution plan and key partnerships plan. The proposal presents an opportunity for business model discovery.
    • Growth potential – The idea has the potential to succeed beyond the CreativeXR programme and receive further funding opportunities and keep on growing as a project.

    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.

    The decision is taken by Digital catapult and its relevant partners on the information submitted, any additional information gleaned from its due diligence, and their knowledge. This decision is final.

  • Are you able to provide feedback on my application?

    Unfortunately, because of the high volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide feedback on CreativeXR applications.

  • Do we need to send a business plan?

    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).

  • Can I apply with more than one idea?

    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.

  • Who will my application data be shared with?

    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.

  • Can I apply again even if I’ve already been on the programme?

    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.

  • Can I use bespoke/experiential hardware?

    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.

CreativeXR application – Immersive experience explained

  • What is meant by ‘immersive experience’?

    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:

    • In-home (i.e. content is distributed online, to users’ own devices, and is expected to be consumed in a home setting)
    • On-the-go (i.e. content is distributed online, to users’ own mobile devices, and may be consumed in any location)
    • Location-based (i.e. content is part of a fixed installation or exhibit in a specified location, with no device ownership required by users)
    • 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:

    • Experiences delivered in home (for example, content is distributed online, to users’ own devices, and is expected to be consumed in a home setting. This could be either through already existing platforms or new ones)
    • Experiences distributed on Social XR channels
    • Multi-platform experiences (for example location based experiences that can be adapted for in home use as well)
    • Experiences delivered through the web

    This list is by no means exhaustive – we encourage you to use your creativity in thinking about how your project will reach your audience.

  • What is meant by ‘immersive technology’?

    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:

    • Virtual reality (VR)
    • Augmented reality (AR)
    • Mixed reality (MR)
    • Experiences using real-time technologies
    • Immersive audio technology
    • Haptic technologies or other sensory system
    • 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).

  • Are physical installations and live performance projects eligible?

    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.

  • Are gaming projects eligible?

    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.

  • Are audio-only projects eligible?

    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.

  • Are ideas that have already been commissioned/displayed eligible?

    No, this programme supports new prototypes. Mature prototypes or content that has already been on public display or release is not eligible.

  • Are proposals that have already received funding 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.

CreativeXR application – Company requirements

  • Does my organisation need to be registered to enter?

    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).

  • Does my organisation need to be UK based?

    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 December 2020 (see FAQ “Key dates for the programme”).

  • What if my organisation is not based in the UK?

    We welcome international collaborations, however the majority of the work must be carried out in the UK.

  • Can University teams apply?

    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.

  • Do I need to have the capabilities to produce an immersive experience already?

    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.

  • Do Digital Catapult or Arts Council England help with the creation of new teams?

    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 hello@creativexr.co.uk for more information.

  • How much equity does CreativeXR take?

    CreativeXR is equity free and there are no fees associated with participation.

  • Does CreativeXR take any intellectual property?

    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.

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