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R&D Bootcamp: Innovation Residency for Researchers

Are you an early career academic or PhD researcher looking to apply your research specialism to a live immersive or innovation project in the creative industries?

Are you a creative immersive company based in the UK who could benefit from having an academic researcher join your team?

Yes? Join us for a nationwide researcher-industry residency networking event which will address the gap between academic theory and industry practice of research in the creative immersive sector.

At StoryFutures Academy we are passionate about bridging the gap between cutting-edge academic research and the creative immersive businesses making innovative impactful content.

Researchers and Immersive Companies based anywhere in the UK interested in embedding research practice into their immersive productions will have the opportunity to apply for a fully-funded residency of up to 10 weeks. During this time the placed Early Career Researcher will support creative immersive companies in their research and development of an innovative project aligned to areas of UKRI strategic importance and industry need. These areas are identified as:

  • inclusive design;
  • the green economy and sustainability;
  • audience behaviour;
  • AI and machine learning.

Day One: Tuesday 14th June will be a remote, free-to-attend event with panel talks and case-studies exploring the value of academic research in creative industry innovation. As part of this, Immersive Companies interested in taking on a resident researcher will share their ambitions and research needs. This event is open to all academic researchers interested in immersive R&D, with no obligation to commit to a residency placement.

Day Two: Tuesday 21st June Researchers interested in collaborating with an Immersive Company will have the opportunity to meet and network with immersive companies at an online speed-networking session to determine best fit. Following this researchers and immersive companies who find shared interests will be set up with a 10-week residency programme to take place between July-October 2022.


Call out open: 31st March 2022

Call out close: 26th May 2022

Networking Event day 1: 14th June 2022

Networking Event day 2: 21st June 2022

Residency Period: July - October 2022

To register as a Researcher please click here To register as an Immersive Company please click here


Do I need to be based within the Gateway Cluster?

No, academics and companies can be based anywhere in the UK.

What type of company is eligible?

Immersive companies of any size are eligible for this opportunity, as long as they can commit to hosting a Researcher Residency for the period between July-Oct 2022.

What is meant by an Early Career Researcher?

StoryFutures Academy defines an Early Career Researcher as someone within eight years of their PhD award (this is from the time of the PhD ‘viva’ – oral test), or equivalent professional training; within six years of their first academic appointment (the first full or part time paid employment contract that lists research or teaching as the primary functions); PhD candidates due to be awarded their PhD by the end of 2023.

These periods exclude any career break, for example: family care, health reasons, reasons related to COVID-19 such as homeschooling or increased teaching load.

Do I have to be associated with an HEI?

Yes, researchers must be currently contracted by a UK HEI.

How much will I get paid as a Researcher?

We will buy-out your time from your HEI in the form of a secondment or, in exceptional circumstances, teaching relief funding or extension of hours (for part-time staff).

Do Researchers need to relocate?

There is no expectation for researchers to relocate for this residency. We encourage remote collaboration and travel only where/when necessary.

Do the companies get paid?

Immersive Companies who receive a researcher on residency will not receive cash payment, StoryFutures Academy will buy-out and contract the researchers from their home HEI.

What are the expected outputs of the Residency?

The outputs of the residency will be defined between the Immersive Company and the researcher. Each residency will be unique and have different outcomes based on the research needs of the partnered company.

What are the timeframes?

The initiation event will take place on 14th June 2022 and the matchmaking session will take place on 21st June 2022. The residencies will take place between July-October 2022 and ideally be completed by 31st October 2022.

Can a company have more than one Researcher/can a Researcher go to more than one company?

If there is true impact or value to be had for both the researcher and the Immersive Company in having more than one researcher/being placed with more than one company, SFA would be open to this. However, all placements are capped at up to 10 weeks per researcher.

What experience do researchers need in immersive?

Whilst priority will be given to those that can demonstrate a good early engagement in their career with creative industries, you do not need to have had experience in Immersive production or technologies, but interest in this field is imperative. You may come from a completely different field and not have had experience working in immersive, but your area of applied research should be able to be applied to this area.

What sort of researcher would this suit?

This programme will best suit applied researchers across Arts and Humanities, Social and Physical Sciences. Those working in STEAM environments may be especially well-suited to the interdisciplinary nature of creative industries’ projects. Transferable areas may include (but are not exclusive to): Storytelling (in all forms), Theatre, Film, Games, Psychology, Design, Audience Behaviour, Computer Sciences, Engineering, Music etc. So long as you can apply your research to industry, you’ll be the right fit.

Why would this be good for me as a researcher?

This will give you the opportunity to apply your research specialism to industry projects. You will have the opportunity to take learning from this residency and apply them to your own research, demonstrating real-world impact.

Why would this be good for me as an Immersive Company?

This will give you the opportunity to receive and apply academic-level research to your project that you might not otherwise be able to access. For those Immersive Companies looking to increase R&D capability, to apply for innovation funding (e.g. InnovateUK), or to look beyond short-term horizons and needs, this is an excellent opportunity to look at ways to grow your business.

How much contact time will Researchers have with companies?

This will depend on both the nature of the project and the level of the academic. Both parties will determine the amount of time and frequency, but it must be equal to between 25 and 50 working days over a specified period.

If you have any further questions please reach out to Lauren Quinn to arrange a conversation.


Eligibility and Selection Criteria

To apply for the StoryFutures Academy Bootcamp, you'll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Age: Participants must be 18+
  • UK Status: Applicants must be UK nationals or permanent UK residents, living and working in the UK
  • Diversity: StoryFutures Academy operates with a pledge to ensure 50% of participants are women and 15-20% are from BAME backgrounds
  • Track Record: Applicants must have a substantial body of work and track record in a relevant creative field, including a number of screen, production, performance (or equivalent) credits.
  • Ability to benefit: Applicants must explain why this opportunity would be of benefit to them and their career path and aspirations, and provide an opportunity they may not otherwise have access to.
  • Reporting: All participants must agree to funder reporting requirements, including provision of relevant business and employment information

Applications close 26th May 2022. Please see application buttons in copy.