Creative Innovation Accelerator

The Creative Innovation Accelerator works to make creative impactful interventions that help our stakeholders, partners and communities. It is interdisciplinary, working across all faculties and professional services to maximise expertise from across USW to innovate and provide solutions to challenges that are facing the many partners and industries that we work with.

The economy of Wales is dependent on the success of a workforce that is ideally placed to be highly digitally literate, with USW able to act as a real change enabler for the nation and its future workforce in this domain.

From supporting an innovation ecosystem for a pipeline of new media products and services, to developing curriculum and a Digital Transformation Intensive Learning Academy that will help leaders in health and social care to deliver more effective and efficient services to patients, our experts are at the forefront of creative problem solving and innovation.

We work with many universities, organisations, businesses, and the public sector to generate positive change in a landscape where creativity and innovation are understood as an essential component of business and sector transformation.

Our curriculum

Visual Effects Green Screen Studio

Creative and digital innovation is at the heart of our curriculum at USW. We are able to offer bespoke training solutions for external partners to tap into the expertise on offer at USW.

A new Digital Transformation Intensive Learning Academy will help leaders in health and social care to deliver more effective and efficient services to patients.

Part funded by Welsh Government, the Academy will help health and social care practitioners to deliver transformational projects around digital solutions, exploring new technologies and fostering a culture of curiosity. A range of flexible courses have been developed with Powys Regional Partnership Board, including postgraduate and doctorate level opportunities within Leading Digital Transformation.

This is the result of partnership working across USW, with academics from all three of our faculties working together to implement this solution.

Our Research

The media.cymru Consortium, which includes USW, is a £50m project to develop a world-leading cluster for media innovation in the Cardiff Capital Region.

Media.cymru brings together 24 organisations from across the Cardiff Capital Region and includes partners working in education, broadcasting, technology, media production and local leadership to drive inclusive, sustainable economic growth and an additional £236m in Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2026.

Since 2006, the Region has developed one of the strongest media sector growth rates in the UK, attracting one in eight of all new UK jobs in film/TV, producing global successes on film and TV shows including Sex Education, His Dark Materials, Doctor Who and Dream Horse.

Responding to the advances made in remote and virtual production during the Covid-19 pandemic, media.cymru will invest in the Region’s digital infrastructure, focusing on emerging technologies, increasing small businesses’ capacity for innovation and addressing skills needs.

A series of industry-led challenge areas to be investigated, including sustainability, bilingual production, diversity and inclusion, tourism and technology will position the Region’s media sector as a testbed for new content, approaches and formats.

Researchers from USW and Cardiff University will be lending their expertise to support an innovation ecosystem, which aims to create a pipeline taking 100 companies from initial idea to market-ready new media products and services.

USW is also leading a co-ordinated research-led skills strategy, linking training providers with industry needs and infrastructure, with a focus on talent attraction, development and retention to support emerging formats and technologies.

USW is part of Clwstwr - an ambitious five-year programme to create new products, services and experiences for screen involving universities, Welsh Government, Welsh broadcasters and screen industry businesses. Clwstwr aims to put innovation at the core of media production in South Wales - moving Cardiff’s thriving screen sector from strength to leadership.

With a focus on screen industries – film and television production and their supply chains – academics from Cardiff’s three universities (USW, Cardiff University, and Cardiff Metropolitan University) are collaborating to provide research that can help the already thriving scene in South Wales reach its full potential.

Through a Screen Innovation System (SIS) and a News Innovation Lab (NIL) – the Research and Development (R&D) programme will also allow broadcasters, businesses and freelancers to apply for funding to develop innovative products, services and experiences in a drive to create economic uplift in South Wales.

These R&D initiatives will be designed to respond to changing technologies, shifting patterns of consumption and the benefits of creative fusion and collaboration.

Clwstwr is also creating a platform for independent companies, SMEs, micro-businesses and freelancers to compete with global, highly integrated media companies. 

Find out more: 

Clwstwr  

Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations  


USW has had a significant increase in the amount of world leading research according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) outcomes. There has been a 49% improvement in world leading research (categorised as 4*) at USW since the last REF in 2014. 

USW is now fourth in Wales for impact (up from eighth in 2014, based on 4* / 3*) with 81% of USW’s research impact being classed as world leading or internationally excellent (4* / 3*). Almost two thirds of the USW researchers submitted to REF 2021 have research that has been categorised as world leading or internationally excellent (4* or 3*).

Our facilities

At our Cardiff campus, we have invested in the latest technology, software and equipment to ensure that students are regularly using and learning in the same facilities that you would within industry and have plenty of dedicated spaces for students to collaborate on projects. It also allows to us to work on innovative research and commercial projects with partners using industry leading equipment.

This includes:  

HD FILM STUDIOS

Tv Studio

Fully equipped HD film studios complete with lighting rigs, green screen and motion capture facilities, a black box studio, Avid HD and Adobe editing suites, Pro Tools sound editing and dubbing suite, and excellent screening facilities.

VIRTUAL REALITY 

Julie Morgan AM tries out a virtual reality system at the launch of CEMET. Neil Gibson, Match 2017

Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) expertise and technology.

DESIGN STUDIOS

Graphic Communication students working at a computer

Our design studios are designed to emulate commercial design studios, from creative collaborative spaces to our industry pitching room, as well as Mac rooms, a wide variety of image capture devices and even Raspberry Pi.

Our partnerships

Wallace and Gromit

Audience of the future

USW is helping to create ground-breaking immersive experiences, harnessing augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality technologies. 

Working with Tiny Rebel Games and Sugar Creative, as part of a consortium with Potato, they have been awarded a multi-million-pound research and development grant to explore and pioneer cutting-edge immersive experiences, as part of the Audience of the Future programme.

One of these projects has involved working with Aardman on the highly anticipated augmented reality app and experience, Wallace and Gromit in The Big Fixup, which was launched in 2021 with live events around the world. This multi-user augmented reality experience brings the characters alive in an entirely new way, creating a new platform for storytelling.

“Our researchers have conducted user testing and product evaluation, holding masterclasses with students to help us better understand the user experience for augmented reality technology.      

“It is a large scale, fast paced and exciting project, and together with our collaborators, we are creating future-proof practices for multi-user storytelling that involves the audience in the heart of the action.”  

Corrado Morgana 
Academic Manager for Animation and Games, USW 

“It’s fantastic that we complete our line-up of audience-facing demonstrators with this hugely ambitious collaboration. 

“Their aim to revolutionise augmented reality gaming, along with the advances in AI, haptics, audience interaction and film production technologies from our other competition winners, means the public will be able to try out some truly ground-breaking experiences.”  

Professor Andrew Chitty  
UKRI Challenge Director for Audience of the Future 

His Dark Materials promo

Creating tomorrow’s film-makers

A unique partnership between USW Film & TV School Wales and Screen Alliance Wales is providing valuable experience to the next generation of film-makers.

USW graduates and students have worked on a variety of leading television productions at Cardiff’s Wolf Studios, including the highly-acclaimed BBC and HBO production of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

More than 40 students were given shadowing placements and 30 graduates were employed in paid positions in this production. A further 1,000 USW students have benefited from this relationship through tours of the studios to see behind the scenes and meet production teams. 

“We are thrilled that, thanks to our close partnership with Screen Alliance Wales, we are able to create so many opportunities for our students and graduates to work on internationally respected screen projects. To be able to support so many talented young people, now and on future series, is both an honour and a privilege.” 

Tom Ware 
Director of Production and Performance, USW 

“When I first started my course the one goal I gave myself was to work on something I love and to get my name in the credits. Tick - done that!” 

MJ Hygate 
USW Computer Animation Graduate 
Pre-Visual Animator, His Dark Materials 

“Having this relationship with USW enables graduates and students to have real time, hands-on experience here in the studio. It has created a new talent pipeline that can support the whole industry, and is a massive step forward for all of us.” 

Allison Dowzell 
Managing Director, Screen Alliance Wales 

Nursing

Driving healthcare transformation

A Digital Transformation Intensive Learning Academy will help leaders in health and social care to deliver more effective and efficient services to patients.

Part funded by Welsh Government, the Academy will help health and social care practitioners to deliver transformational projects around digital solutions, exploring new technologies and fostering a culture of curiosity. A range of flexible courses have been developed with Powys Regional Partnership Board, including postgraduate and doctorate level opportunities within Leading Digital Transformation.

The goal is to empower workforces with the expertise, skills and confidence to drive the redesign of health and care systems for the better, improving patient outcomes and experiences, while boosting the efficiency and sustainability of services. 

The cross-collaboration across the courses will encourage innovation and collaboration. This will allow the co-development of valuable skills and partnerships to support transformative health and social care. 

“Striving for transformational change should underpin all of our efforts in developing our services and strong leadership is critical to that so we improve experiences for patients, clinicians and the wider public. This programme will support our leaders to drive digital transformation and be a catalyst for innovation.” 

Professor Bob Hudson  
Co-Director of the Intensive Learning Academy, USW 

“Digital working is key to future service delivery and this exciting work will prepare our teams to lead on this.” 

Councillor Myfanwy Alexander 
Chair, Powys Regional Partnership Board 
 

“These dedicated academies are a world first and we are immensely proud that Wales is pioneering in such an important training field. Leading Digital Transformation is set to be a major growth area within health and social care, so it’s imperative that our future leaders develop these crucial skills and knowledge.” 

Cari-Anne Quinn 
CEO, Life Sciences Hub Wales