Royal Holloway, University of London, Announced As Lead Partner For CoSTAR National Lab Of Which NFTS is a core partner

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) has announced today, 22 November, that Royal Holloway, University of London, is the lead partner for the CoSTAR* National Lab for Research and Development in Creative Technology, a £51.1m investment by the UK Government in Applied Research to ensure the UK’s screen and performance industries have the research infrastructure and research and innovation skills to compete globally.

Building on StoryFutures expertise in creative industries research and development (R&D) and by bringing together world leaders in applied technology research and story, Royal Holloway will support innovation for the UK’s Creative Industries. Partnered with Pinewood Studios, BT, disguise, the University of Surrey/Surrey Institute for People-Centered AI, Abertay University, Surrey County Council and the National Film and Television School, the CoSTAR National Lab will place R&D at the heart of UK storytelling and storytelling at the heart of R&D.


The Lab will be based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire and will include dedicated studio space, featuring a large-scale virtual production system, a 5G/6G private network, a motion capture rig, and a state-of-the-art creative Artificial Intelligence (AI) compute facility accessible across the UK. Our vision for the CoSTAR National Lab will put the UK at the forefront of applied research in advanced computing technologies for the creative sector.

The National Lab will create an innovation architecture to enable the UK screen and performance sectors to lead the world in future waves of advanced computing technologies. We will do so by placing our nations’ leading-edge advantage in creativity at the core of the CoSTAR National Lab, providing a centre for innovation that is unmatched anywhere in the UK.

The *convergent screen technologies and performance in realtime (CoSTAR) programme provides researchers, companies and institutions across the UK with the infrastructure they need to conduct world-class research and development (R&D) in screen and performance technology. CoSTAR will support the design, development and creation of state-of-the-art facilities, resources and expertise to underpin the long-term competitiveness of the UK’s screen and performance sectors.

Established with £75.6 million of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with additional private co-investment, the CoSTAR national network comprises a National Lab, three Network Labs and a Foresight Lab.

Professor James Bennett, Director of CoSTAR National Lab at Royal Holloway, said: “By creating a leading-edge R&D facility at the heart of the UK Creative Industries, our research teams will be working with the creative sector to build the game- changing technologies and experiences of tomorrow. Our aim is to deliver a new kind of public innovation value that makes Metaverse and AI technologies more inclusive, sustainable and
democratic. And through all this, ensure the UK can stay ahead of the curve as the world leader in creative innovation"

Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor Julie Sanders, said: “We are thrilled that Royal Holloway will be leading the CoSTAR National Lab, which will put the UK at the forefront of applied research in advanced computing technologies for the creative sector. We are very proud to bring together this unique partnership to support creative sector innovation by unlocking the world-class research of our University. This will open an exciting new chapter in applied R&D collaborations between industry and researchers.”

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