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by Sofia Villegas
23 November 2023
Scotland to become hub for ‘next generation’ film tech

Abertay University staff conducting screen media research in the University’s Virtual Production Research Environment | Abertay University

Scotland to become hub for ‘next generation’ film tech

A Scottish university is to lead a research lab for screen and performance technology which is expected to revolutionise the screening and performance industry. 

The move is part of a £75m programme providing state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council – which forms part of UK Research & Innovation – the CoSTAR (Convergent Screen Technologies and Performance in Realtime) programme will invest £75m in facilities for participants to conduct research in film tech, with a focal point in virtual production, with the work led by the University of Abertay.

The lab will have sites based in Dundee and Edinburgh, making Abertay University the only institution to work across two network sites. Abertay University will also form part of the CoSTAR National Lab based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. 

The CoSTAR Realtime Lab will be built at Water’s Edge in Dundee (a site owned by Chroma Developments), with the Edinburgh College of Art to host the second site. 

Other supporting partners include Scottish Enterprise, Screen Scotland, the Scottish Government’s Techscaler programme and Amazon Web Services. 

Lara Findlay, head of regional engagement for Dundee & Tayside at Techscaler, said: "The launch of the CoSTAR Realtime Lab presents an exciting opportunity for both Dundee and Scotland to explore advancements in screen and performance technology. The launch of this studio truly underscores the immense potential within our region, placing us on the path towards creative technology innovations that could significantly benefit Scotland's tech sector.” 

Launched this week at the Beyond Conference in London, the CoSTAR initiative aims to become a cluster for resources and expertise, securing a long-term competitive advantage for the UK within the screening and performance sector.  

Howell Davies, from business and education hub Interface, said: “The approach to build on previous creative cluster programmes and combine the strengths of the academic expertise, support organisations and investors is a strong foundation to help drive the next generation of visual effects technologies that will revolutionise the UK’s film, TV and performing arts industries.”  

The new initiative adds to Scotland’s strong reputation in other sector within the industry, with Dundee amongst the top gaming hubs in the world. 

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