Research and development (R&D) is the engine of our creative industries – and Clwstwr is putting it at the core of media production in South Wales. The programme provides vital funding for R&D projects, resulting in new products, services and experiences for our ever-growing screen sector. It’s a flagship programme with an ambitious goal: to move Wales’ screen sector from a position of strength to leadership.
Clwstwr gives Welsh companies the time, space and funding to meaningfully engage with R&D. This helps to level the playing field – creating a platform for independents, SMEs, micro-businesses, and freelancers to compete with highly integrated global media companies. Clwstwr also provides specialist expertise, passing on valuable knowledge and training in areas including business development and user-centred design from academics and industry professionals.
Between 2019 and 2022, Clwstwr awarded funding to 118 innovation projects, led by film and television companies, technology businesses, creative organisations and freelancers. This support has helped them research and develop new ideas, in projects that have had a positive economic, social and cultural impact on the sector and the region.
Like many projects across Wales’ creative sectors, Clwstwr is a collaborative effort. It’s part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The programme is delivered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council on behalf of UK Research and Innovation. It involves industry and academia – Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales – all pulling together.
At Creative Wales, we’re proud to be a key funder for the programme, supporting its aspirations for Welsh businesses to compete with the very best in the world. Working closely with Clwstwr, we’ve been able to share industry expertise, make connections and introductions, and bring awareness of the available R&D support to the right audiences.
While Clwstwr’s five years of operation come to an end in 2023, its overarching mission will be further developed by media.cymru, a brand-new innovation programme supported by the Strength in Places Fund. This strategic investment programme brings together 23 media production, broadcast, technology, university and local leadership partners – including us here at Creative Wales – to develop a global hub for media innovation.
Through media.cymru, progress will be made in areas such as virtual production, digital infrastructure, achieving net-zero, and equality, diversity and inclusion. It’s the latest step on our journey to a culture of continuous innovation – one where R&D is always at the core of production.
Want to know more? Here are three of Clwstwr’s biggest achievements:
- Clwstwr has invested more than £3 million directly into the news and screen sectors in Wales for research and development and to stimulate innovation, as well as develop new products, services and experiences
- Clwstwr has created a network with more than 1000 organisations within, and beyond, Wales. This helps to bring together companies, freelancers, innovation experts and academia
- Through 200+ events and workshops, Clwstwr has brought new expertise, knowledge and support to the Welsh screen sector – reaching more than 1000 members of the sector in three years