£150m set aside for national lab at Pinewood Studios and three regional facilities

The government has set aside around £150m to fund four labs dedicated to AI, visual effects and motion capture technology.  

New funding of £77m, announced today as part of the government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision, will help fund four advanced screen technology research labs - three regional labs at existing studios in Yorkshire, Dundee, and Belfast, and a national lab at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.  

The aim is to advance the use of large-scale digital sets that performers can interact with in real-time, as a less expensive alternative to green screens, which has been used in shows such as The Mandalorian (Disney+).  

Pinewood Studios expansion

Pinewood Studios

The Convergent Screen Technologies and performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) labs will be supported by an additional £63m from industry partners including BT, the NFTS, and Screen Yorkshire and £75.6m previously committed by the government. 

Meanwhile, £50m of the new funding will help grow at least six clusters of businesses across the country and fund creative start-ups and entrepreneurs.  

The government created the Sector Vision alongside the Creative Industries Council. It has also pledged to create more opportunities for young people in the creative industries, including by working with regional partners to develop and improve skills training. 

“The government is backing our creatives to maximise the potential of the creative industries,” said culture secretary Lucy Frazer, who has previously pledged to grow the sector by £50bn and create one million extra jobs by 2030. 

“This Sector Vision is about driving innovation, attracting investment and building on the clusters of creativity across the country. And from first days at school to last days of work, we will nurture the skills needed to build a larger creative workforce to harness the talent needed for continued success.” 

“The Creative Industries are coming of age with this ambitious policy framework for economic growth and cultural value,” said industry co-chair of the Creative Industries Council Sir Peter Bazalgette.  

“Our Sector Vision champions R&D-led innovation and future skills, drawing on the talent of all our communities. It also promotes positive impact on health and wellbeing, the environment and Britain’s global reach.” 

Pact chief executive John McVay welcomed the funding, which he said recognises the key role the creative industries have in growing the UK economy.  

“Pact is pleased to see the many initiatives designed to create new jobs and opportunities across the UK – particularly for young people – as well as investment in creative clusters and innovative R&D labs which will all further enhance the UK’s reputation for making world-class content,” he added.