Attention game developers and digital companies – especially (but not limited to) those in Edinburgh – Innovate UK (the organisation formerly known as the technology strategy board) is to invest up to £1 million in innovative research and development projects centred on the emerging cluster of digital media businesses in Edinburgh.
The competition aims to stimulate the hotspot of digital media by enabling companies to go further and/or faster towards commercial success. In partnership with technology incubator CodeBase, Innovate UK wants to draw investment and people into the area, and to encourage networking and collaboration to strengthen the cluster.
The organisation is looking for projects that may be too risky for companies to take forward without any support, or that may take them into new innovative areas, and where the majority of the project activities are carried out in Edinburgh. Innovate UK will fund up to 70% of eligible costs for industrial research projects, with estimated project sizes ranging between £100,000 and £120,000. Projects can last up to 12 months and must be led by micro or small businesses that Innovate UK anticipates are likely to be in the early stages of their development.
An integral part of Launchpad is the offer of support to help applicants to raise additional new external finance that the organisation expects will be needed to fully fund the project and its subsequent commercialisation. In addition to receiving project funding, successful applicants will participate in a programme of business support and growth activities that will run in parallel to projects. The deadline for video submissions is at noon on 26 August 2015.
Innovate UK will offer funding to micro and small digital media businesses wishing to undertake innovative industrial research projects. In this context, the organisation considers digital media activity to include the production, distribution or management of content, such as films, music, TV, games, and their associated data.
Industrial research is planned research or critical investigation aimed at the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for developing new products, processes or services or for bringing about a significant improvement in existing products, processes or services. It comprises the creation of component parts to complex systems, and may include the construction of prototypes in a laboratory environment or in an environment with simulated interfaces to existing systems as well as of pilot lines, when necessary for the industrial research, notably for generic technology validation.
While the competition is focused on digital media businesses in Edinburgh it is also open to micro and small businesses from across the UK, if they wish to carry out a project in the cluster. Innovate UK encourages such participants to relocate their businesses within the cluster or to partner with businesses in the area, so as to take advantage of the facilities that are available there.
This is a three-stage competition:
Stage 1 – Video submission
Applicants submit a brief application form and a two-minute video describing their ideas.
The video should address:
- the challenge or opportunity being tackled and why it is important
- the approach that will be taken and how it is innovative
- the relationship to Edinburgh’s digital media cluster
- how the solution will be commercialised and what impact it could have if successful
- why Innovate UK investment is needed
The deadline for video submissions is noon on 26 August 2015. Videos will remain confidential, but they will be seen by a panel of expert assessors who will review the ideas described in them and select a shortlist based upon how well they address the above criteria.
Stage 2 – Written proposal
Top-ranking applicants from stage 1 will be invited on 21 September 2015 to submit a written proposal. The deadline for written proposals is noon on 22 October 2015.
Stage 3 – Pitch session
Following assessment of the written proposal, top-ranking applicants will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of experts, who will make the final selection. This pitch session will take place on 18 November 2015.
Applicants will be informed of the results of their applications on 4 December 2015.
The selected projects will receive a letter of intent to fund from Innovate UK, subject to being able to secure the additional funds needed for the project within six months.
A key feature of this competition will be a programme of activities designed to bring together successful applicants to support the development of their businesses and help them to access finance. This aspect of the Launchpad will see projects tapping into the range of resources that CodeBase and other organisations in the cluster have to offer. These resources will be tailored to the cohort Innovate UK will fund and will be aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills and investment readiness.
You can find more information on the competition, contact details for Innovate UK as well as specific guidance for applicants on the Innovate UK website.