Creative Cluster

StoryFutures Creative Cluster creates and helps fund R&D projects with creative businesses in the 'Gateway Cluster region' immediately to London's west.

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StoryFutures Academy delivers cutting edge training in immersive technology and immersive storytelling for the traditional screen industries nationwide.

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StoryFutures is gearing up to launch brand new projects worldwide, stay tuned

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R&D On Demand

R&D On Demand enables SMEs to access university expertise to develop new ideas and solve innovation challenges in next-generation storytelling. We have research experts in areas such as story form development, audience insight, immersive technology, business models, routes to funding and many others.

We are looking to support exploratory and early-stage R&D collaborations between SMEs and researchers that show clear potential for growth and innovation.

Some examples of areas where we can help:

  • Audience Insight: We offer audience testing of prototypes, pilots and fully-fledged projects to understand how they respond to multi-sensory attention cues. We provide insight into audience behaviours and access to data in long-term trends in consumer habits.
  • Business Innovation: We offer business development support, including collaborating on funding applications and helping companies innovate in business models.
  • Narrative: We offer creative or tech companies with a platform, software or hardware help creating, researching and testing great stories.

The offer to the SME includes:

  • Between 8 and 15 days of a researchers’ time, usually over 3-4 months
  • Up to £3000 bursary to enable participation, if required,
  • Ownership of new IP developed in the R&D collaboration.

We expect the SMEs to contribute their own resources to the partnership, for example, through staff time, IP, facilities or equipment. We accept applications at any time, so if you are an SME who can benefit from this opportunity, we'd love to hear from you. Please read our quick guide below, and express interest through our form.

To get started with the R&D on Demand process, have a look at our Academic Experts, and let us know about your project and the kind of support you would like to access.

Express interest
Professor Jen Parker-Starbuck

Professor Jen Parker-Starbuck

StoryLab R&D Lead, StoryFutures

Expertise: story consultancy, narrative innovation, media and theatre, cyborg performance

Professor Jen Parker-Starbuck is Head of the School of Performing and Digital Arts at Royal Holloway, and Theme Leader on StoryLab projects. Jen is available to act as a story consultant for immersive projects, and is interested in narrative innovation, theatre and performance and issues of embodiment.

Adam Ganz

Adam Ganz

Co-Investigator, StoryFutures & Head of Writers Room, StoryFutures Academy

Expertise: story consultancy, narrative innovation, screenwriting

Adam Ganz is Reader in Screenwriting at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Head of Writers Lab at StoryFutures Academy. He is also a researcher on the StoryFutures Cluster. He writes for radio, film and TV and also works as a dramaturge and narrative consultant. He is currently completing a book on how Robert De Niro works with screenplays. He can assist projects looking for story consultancy, narrative innovation and any aspect of creative storytelling.

Professor Polly Dalton

Professor Polly Dalton

Audience Insight R&D Lead, StoryFutures

Expertise: Audience responding, attention, awareness

Polly has a research background in attention and multisensory perception, having applied this knowledge in a range of non-academic projects, including recent work on driverless cars, installation art and helicopter warning systems.

She can use her understanding of human behaviour to offer unique perspectives on audience responding to immersive experiences, and, as head of the Department of Psychology, can also draw on a network of colleagues with truly diverse ranges of psychological expertise.

Professor Mark Lycett

Professor Mark Lycett

Business R&D Lead, StoryFutures

Expertise: Access to funding/finance, Deriving value from data

Mark specialises in the ways that value can be derived from (big) data. Prior to academia, he spent several years in industry in project management and consulting. At StoryFutures, Mark leads our work on understanding future business models and value chains in the immersive sector, as well as working on specific innovation projects with SMEs.

Mark can help creative and digital businesses think through business models (e.g., value offering and monetisation), approaches to raising finance or applying for government funding, and questions around data management and monetisation.

Dr Hannah Platts

Dr Hannah Platts

Lecturer in Ancient History & Archaeology

Expertise: Museums and heritage, storytelling, audience engagement

Hannah has a research background in history and archaeology, particularly with regard to multisensory engagement with artefacts and the built environment. She has applied this knowledge to various projects including a forthcoming book on multisensory living in ancient Rome, and a virtual reality Roman villa that allowed visitors to experience recreated sights, sounds and smells of life in Roman Britain.

As well this insight into the multisensory experience of the historical past, as project leader for a network that connects heritage institutions and technology companies in the UK and US and a member of a large History department, Hannah can draw upon a wealth of historical and museological expertise.

Jack Lowe

Jack Lowe

Doctoral Researcher

expertise: digital geography, digital storytelling, location-based gaming, psychogeography

Jack is a cultural geographer whose research engages with various forms of digital media to investigate the processes through which places become meaningful. He can assist with insights on place and environment in digital narrative experiences as well as share learnings from his own location-based game development.

Application Timeline



  • Applicants must be based in the Gateway Cluster or Greater London (see map)

Express your interest

• Tell us about the support you’re interested in in the form (link below) and we’ll be in touch to discuss the project.


Apply for R&D support

• Submit a brief description of your project, timeline and ideal outcomes - we will turn this around in 2 weeks.


R&D Collaboration

Carry out the project, usually over a 3 month period.