In January 2023, Digital Catapult will be launching the first MyWorld Challenge Call, titled Catalysts and Connectors: Tools for the Creative Industries funded by UKRI Strength In Places. The theme looks to address workflows, the optimisation of existing tools and the production pipeline and processes. The call will highlight commercial industry-led challenges developed in partnership with industry partner NVIDIA, as well as an opportunity for companies to explore their own challenges, aiming to build prototypes that demonstrate clear advancements in technology and novel applications of existing tools.
Tools are central to the creative process – new and emergent tools can create new ways of working, creating new challenges, which leads to new tools to solve these problems and a virtuous cycle of innovation.
For example, Adobe Photoshop was partially created to solve the challenges of digital image compositing and has since become a ubiquitous, almost generic, term for image creation, editing and manipulation.
Image credit: Adobe Inc
Many other companies have been created to build plug-ins and tools inside of Photoshop and countless other companies rely on it for their business.
Within MyWorld there are many challenges to be addressed, spanning the broad context of the programme’s north star, The Creative Continuum. From ideation, creation, delivery through to assessment the programme covers the spectrum of creativity and technology. Emergent technologies offer opportunities as well as challenges. The Creative Industries, like many others, are undergoing a period of technological transformation. The development of machine learning enabled creative tools is one example of how technology is impacting established production pipelines, offering a new paradigm for visual entertainment. The rapid rise of generative toolsets such as Stable Diffusion and Midjourney* are reshaping related industries – whilst they offer new creative potential they are also disrupting established production processes and business models; trained upon datasets scraped from the open web with little consideration for attribution or financial remuneration to the original IP owners. *See image created by Midjourney (prompt: metaverse, immersive, software, headset,
This call looks to support the exploration, creation and potential commercialisation of projects related to these opportunities and challenges.
What are we looking for?
The call is inviting developers, creative studios or businesses, startups and SMEs looking to accelerate projects which address the theme of building tools with applications broadly in creative industries.
The funding could be used to create a new prototype or accelerate development of a product or service. The projects don’t necessarily have to be software – it could be a hardware solution to an on-set problem or a physical workshop pack for ideating new content forms, for example.
With our industry partner NVIDIA we have defined some real world challenge areas that are aligned with long term commercial opportunities. We’d really like to see some applicants address these challenges head-on, but it’s not mandatory.
NVIDIA believes that interconnected virtual worlds and operational digital twins will revolutionise many industries. In order to achieve the ambitious goals and visions being set out in relation to metaverse experiences, new approaches to creation, collaboration, and delivery will need to be adopted. Novel technologies will be required to underpin these platforms, many of which are being developed by NVIDIA today as part of their Omniverse platform, associated technologies and cutting edge AI research.
Nvidia’s focus is on exploring the tooling opportunities for this new future, particularly around:
• New forms of reality capture
• Real-time collaboration for creation
• Multi-platform delivery
Some of the questions that might be explored could include:
- How can we leverage state-of-the-art AI approaches to capture to create 3D worlds – for example digitising famous venues or landmarks, people or performances.
- How can we ensure they are stored in formats that enable openness and interoperability, real-time collaboration and deployed in ways that facilitate multi-platform access.
- What additional tools might be required to enhance these assets with interactivity or rich content.
Image credit: Nvidia Instant NeRF
In addition to the industry challenge presented by NVIDIA, the call is looking to fund applicable projects across the Creative Continuum. What follows are some examples of other kinds of projects the programme may look to support, but bear in mind these examples are to illustrate the kinds of questions that might be explored, this is not exhaustive, and only supplied to stimulate the imagination!
A tool to :
- Assist in the capturing of volumetric content
- Facilitate the encoding of new types of content over delivery networks
- Assess quality metrics of delivering novel experiences using new coding techniques
- Connect existing platforms and tools together
- Explore the challenges of creating novel content in a non-linear manner within a workshop
- Configure dynamic delivery networks (e.g: live experiences)
Image credit: CAMERA
The MyWorld programme will award £50,000 for the acceleration, development or provision of a prototype, process or product, alongside additional support programmed and delivered by Digital Catapult. There is no match funding required. Accompanying programme benefits from programme sponsors Nvidia, such as bespoke mentorship, access to expertise, workshops and introductions and potential routes to commercialisation in regional, national and international markets may also be offered.
The projects will also be featured in MyWorld showcases and, if appropriate, will be encouraged and supported to consider bidding into future MyWorld calls to further support development of the idea.
How to apply
Step 1. Register your interest in the call
Register your interest via Digital Catapult’s website. You can register now but the link to the application form will only be available when the call opens on Monday 23 January 2023.
Step 2. Apply to the call
The competition opens for applications on Monday 23 January 2023 and the deadline for applications is 23:59 Monday 13 March 2023.
Step 3. Attend a briefing event
In-person event: Thursday 26 January, 13:30 – 17:30 at Bristol Beacon Register via the Eventbrite link to attend the in-person briefing event where you will hear from Industry Partner, Nvidia, and Digital Catapult about the Challenge Call. There will be an opportunity to meet members of the team to ask questions.
Webinar: Friday 27 January 13:00 – 14:00. We highly recommend you attend the in-person event where possible but for anyone who is unable to attend, please register for the webinar. Link to be posted in due course.
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org