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TSB programme offers £250k to innovative developers

by david.nunes

£250K IC tomorrow contest set to stimulate digital innovation in association with UK galleries and museums


08 March, 2012:  IC tomorrow, a Technology Strategy Board programme, has launched a £250K contest to stimulate the country’s brightest digital innovators. The contest is offering up to ten businesses a maximum of £24K and the opportunity to work with a selection of museums and art galleries to develop prototypes of applications or services. In addition, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) will be awarding up to £10k to solutions which promote the accessibility of museums and art galleries to the blind and partially sighted. These prototypes will then be trialled with the museums and galleries via the IC tomorrow test bed.   


IC tomorrow will be working with challenge patrons; British Museum, The New Art Gallery Walsall, National Museums Scotland, SPACE, The Public, the Design Museum, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and the National Museums Liverpool/ International Slavery Museum to define the challenges. The contest will be split into three themes; commercialisation of digital assets, mobile and location based access and connectivity and conversations. There are a total of eight challenges within these three themes.


Entrants are expected to submit applications addressing one of the eight challenges by 12noon Thursday 19th April. The contest aims to support museums and galleries in leveraging their digital assets to encourage engagement and interactivity with a wide audience, and to exploit cultural, technical and commercial possibilities of innovative digital products.


Dr Nick Appleyard, Head of Digital at the Technology Strategy Board said: “In an increasingly connected world, museums and galleries are experimenting with new technologies and interactivity to help make visits more enjoyable for the public and more profitable for the institution. But it can be hard to get the teams together that can find viable new ways to do this. By providing both the content and the digital masterminds, we aim to help these institutions as they reinvent the experience of culture.” 


Following initial submissions, IC tomorrow expects to select up to 24 finalists to go through to stage two of the competition held at the Design Museum on Wednesday 16th May, 2012. Selected applicants will be required to give a ten minute presentation of their solution and face a Q&A session from a panel made up of representatives from IC tomorrow and relevant challenge patrons. Up to ten solutions will be selected to share £250K of funding and work with the relevant challenge patrons to develop their prototypes. This includes two cash prizes to be awarded on the day.   


IC tomorrow will host an online briefing session on 21st March 2012 to give full details of the competition and guidelines for entering. To learn more about the competition or register for the briefing session, please visit https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/digital-innovation-contest-culture.



About IC tomorrow

IC tomorrow, developed by the Technology Strategy Board, enables content owners and application developers – any business with a new service, new business model or new way of deploying hardware or software technology – to trial their ideas with UK consumers through its test bed. Participating digital content providers include EMI, Faber & Faber, Endemol, Haymarket Media Group, Tate, National Geographic, IPC Media, Lionsgate, Getty Images, FremantleMedia, John Wiley & Sons, Crytek, Beggars Group, PRS For Music, Sony Music, The Orchard, The British Library, Universal Music and Warner Music. These content providers will help product and service developers to build new services and find new ways to use and commercialise their content.


About the challenge patron

1.      The British Museum houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts and is free to all visitors.  It is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest museums of human history and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8million works, is amongst the finest, most comprehensive, and largest in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.


2.      The Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) is a leading UK charity offering information, support and advice to almost 2million people with sight loss. Their pioneering work helps anyone with a sight problem.


3.      Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery is currently made up of eight sites and from April 2012 will become Birmingham Museums Trust with the addition of a ninth site, Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum. In addition to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Thinktank, the sites are made up of five community museums: Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill and Soho House. There is also Weoley Castle, the ruins of a 13th Century manor house, and the Museum Collections Centre, which is occasionally opened to the public. These sites are visited by more than 1million people each year with 2million additional virtual visits.


4.      The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and industrial design. It is working to place design at the centre of contemporary culture. It demonstrates both the richness of the creativity to be found in all forms of design, and its importance. The Design Museum is the definitive voice of contemporary design in the UK. Founded in 1989 and currently located in Shad Thames, its work encompasses all elements of design, including product design, graphic design, and fashion. For the past 22 years, the museum has hosted exhibitions showcasing some of the most important pioneers of design including, Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, JonathanIve, and Dieter Rams.


The Design Museum plans to relocate from its current home at Shad Thames to the former Commonwealth Institute building, in Kensington, West London. The project is expected to be completed by 2014. Leading designer John Pawson will convert the interior of the Commonwealth Institute building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions, showcase its world class collection and extend its learning programme.


5.      National Museums Liverpool  opened the International Slavery Museum (ISM) in 2007. It is the only museum of its kind to look at historical and contemporary slavery as well as being an international hub for resources on human rights. ISM seeks to increase public understanding of the history of the transatlantic slave trade and the wider issues of freedom and injustice. Featuring powerful and moving displays, this unique museum is an active supporter of social change and social justice.  ISM actively campaigns against racism, discrimination and inequalities as well as modern day slavery and other human rights abuse. It aims to extend beyond this physical gallery to create a real-time forum dedicated to exploration, discussion and debate about contemporary human rights issues around the world. This would expand ISM’s reach locally, regionally, nationally and globally.


6.      National Museums Scotland is made up of five museum sites in Scotland; the National Museum of Scotland and National War Museum, in Edinburgh, the National Museum of Flight, in East Lothian, the National Museum of Costume in Dumfries and the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride. More than two centuries of collecting is displayed across these sites encompassing everything from Scottish and classical archaeology to decorative and applied arts; from world cultures and social history to science, technology and the natural world.


In July 2011, the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh reopened its doors to the public. Alongside 16 brand new gallery spaces, the museum has also endeavoured to bring new themes, events and interpretation to the fore. It is one of the country’s national collections, and also holds internationally important collections of natural sciences, decorative arts, world cultures, science and technology, and Scottish history and archaeology.


7.      Established in 1968, SPACE  is a charity with a mission to support artists throughout their careers.  With 19 buildings, across nine London boroughs, housing 750 artists and other creatives, it primarily achieves this via the provision of affordable workspace. It also runs an extensive artist professional development programme, including exhibitions, talks, screenings, residencies and more. In its Media Lab, it provides training for artists and others in digital and media skills. The lab is now a focus for some of the leading practitioners engaged with digital and other technology. SPACE also produces an extensive programme of school and community engagements, to ensure that a more diverse range of people engage with the arts and go on to practice in them.


8.      The Public is an exciting arts centre, gallery space and community, cultural space in the heart of West Bromwich.  Designed by renowned architect Will Alsop and Julian Flannery, the building is itself a work of art. The gallery features interactive digital artworks and temporary exhibitions together with a programme of 15 digital and non digital commissions a year, showing to audiences of over 250,000. See www.thepublic.com/exhibitions/archive/all for more information. The Public also provides an extensive programme of entertainment including comedy, music and theatre as well as regular workshops, learning and holiday activities.


9.      When the architects Caruso St John designed The New Art Gallery Walsall, which opened in 2000, they created two floors for the Garman Ryan Collection. Designed like a large house with many rooms off a central hall, they reflected the intimate and personal nature of the collection creating a separate room for each one of the themes. These themes are; landscapes, portraits, figure studies, birds and animals, illustration and symbolism, religion, flowers and still lives, work and leisure and children.



1.      The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit: Technology Strategy Board website.


2.      Media enquiries about IC tomorrow should be directed to: Richard Botley, Sarah James or Charlie Hamilton at Liberty Communications – Tel: 0207 751 4444, email: [email protected]



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