The University of South Wales (USW) is a member of the media.cymru Consortium, which won a £50m bid to develop a world-leading cluster for media innovation in the Cardiff Capital Region.
Led by Cardiff University, media.cymru brings together 24 organisations from across the Cardiff Capital Region and includes partners working in education, broadcasting, technology, media production and local leadership to drive inclusive, sustainable economic growth and an additional £236m in Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2026.
£22m funding is provided through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) flagship Strength in Places Fund and match-funded by £3m from Cardiff Capital Region and £2m from Welsh Government through Creative Wales.
Since 2006, the Region has developed one of the strongest media sector growth rates in the UK, attracting one in eight of all new UK jobs in film/TV, producing global successes on film and TV shows including Sex Education, His Dark Materials, Doctor Who and Dream Horse.
Responding to the advances made in remote and virtual production during the COVID-19 pandemic, media.cymru will invest in the Region’s digital infrastructure, focusing on emerging technologies, increasing small businesses’ capacity for innovation and addressing skills needs.
Ruth McElroy, Co-Director of Clwstwr, Professor of Creative Industries and Head of Faculty Research at USW, said: ʺWe are delighted to have received this government funding provided through UKRI’s flagship Strength in Places fund. Innovation is vital to our growing screen sector – now more than ever, after the devastating impact of Covid-19 – and is a commercial imperative in a competitive global economy.
“We at USW are thrilled to be drawing on our research and development expertise to support the media.cymru programme, which focuses on making the Cardiff Capital Region a global hub for media innovation. It will give us the opportunity to build on our skills research as part of the Clwstwr programme in order to support an inclusive, skilled screen workforce from classroom to boardroom.
ʺThis funding will provide exciting opportunities for businesses and freelancers to collaborate and innovate, helping them to make brilliant content and services that will be recognised across the UK and internationally. We aim to support the development of a world-class media sector in Wales that inspires the world.”
A series of industry-led challenge areas to be investigated, including sustainability, bilingual production, diversity and inclusion, tourism and technology will position the Region’s media sector as a testbed for new content, approaches and formats.
Researchers from USW and Cardiff University will be lending their expertise to support an innovation ecosystem, which aims to create a pipeline taking 100 companies from initial idea to market-ready new media products and services.
USW will also lead a co-ordinated research-led skills strategy, linking training providers with industry needs and infrastructure, with a focus on talent attraction, development and retention to support emerging formats and technologies.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, added: “We are very pleased that UKRI has awarded substantial funding to the media.cymru Strength in Places consortium.
“Whilst the creative industries in Wales are going from strength to strength, this funding is essential to give creative businesses the help to future proof themselves with the latest production techniques. It will also help them carve out the valuable time to research and develop the content and delivery platforms of the future.
“Welsh Government has worked to produce a package of support from our skills, regional and infrastructure departments, co-ordinated by Creative Wales, to the value of £2m. Work undertaken will be sustainable, in line with our environmental commitments and support a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
The media.cymru Consortium members are: Alacrity Foundation, BBC, Boom Cymru, Cardiff Capital Region, Cardiff Council, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff Productions, Cardiff University, Channel 4, Dragon DI, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Gorilla TV, Great Point Media, Nimble Dragon, Object Matrix, Rescape Innovation, Rondo Media, S4C, Shwsh, Town Square Spaces, University of South Wales, Unquiet Media, Wales Interactive and Welsh Government.