UK Challenge Fund for the Creative Industries?

The Innovate and AHRC Challenge Fund for supporting innovation in the UK is currently being drawn up.

Here are the suggestions published in various workshops around the UK over the two weeks for why the Creatives Industries fit the Funds criteria. The challenge now for all freelancers and micro companies ie people working in firms/teams of less than 10 people is to have voice in pushing for funds to support their work.

Please feel free to use the following statistics and criteria in contacting Innovate and AHRC – or add your own.

For ideas on what the fund might pay for to help you create and market your work see the recent BCre8ive blog New Creative Industry Strategy?

Global Market:

  • Global media market – $2Trillion
  • AR/VR global market forecast to be $150bn by 2020
  • Advertising – $468bn
  • Games – $99bn
  • Film (box office only) $48bn
  • Design – currently worth £71bn to UK

UK Capability:

  • The UK’s creative economy provides jobs for 2.9 million people and accounts for around 10% of the whole economy
  • Acknowledged world-class service, content and production base (e.g. ILM, Framestore, BBC, WPP, Heatherwick Stds)
  • Employment continues to grow faster than the workforce as a whole growing by 5.1% between 2104-2015 compared to 2% for the rest of the workforce.
  • The sector is particularly strong at exporting, with services exported by the UK creative industries in 2014 representing 9% of all UK exports.
  • Nearly 50% of Creative Exports are in Digital services underpinned by the UK Digital Economy which represents around 10% of GDP.

Timeliness for Impact:

  • AR/VR on brink of mass adoption – no dominant platform or service design, hence opportunities for UK
  • Synergies with games and film sectors as they race to develop new technologies for converging media
  • Significant R&D tax credit and corporation tax incentives to attract investment in R&D
  • GDPR (EU personal data regulation) will drive need for innovation in fields such as (online) advertising
  • Increasing need for strong regionally-based industries to enhance value through creative inputs (e.g. VR, UX and content for robotics, Automotive and health sectors)


  • Make up of creative sector means most innovative forms are small and need capacity building to undertake R&D
  • Weak inter-sector supply chain links means need for collaborative R&D incentives and networks (e.g. Immerse UK)
  • Disproportionate concentration of creative in London & SE
  • No current dominant designs in areas such as AR/VR require seed public investment
  • Ability to attract talent and large businesses from around the world on world-beating challenges – e.g. USA, China inward investment opportunity.
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