What is Clwstwr? 

Clwstwr is an ambitious programme for industry to create new screen-related products, services and experiences. Clwstwr will build on South Wales' success in making creative content by putting research and development (R&D) at the core of production. 

We want to create a culture of innovation in the cluster which will move the screen sector from a position of strength to one of leadership, internationally. 

We are funded by the Creative Industries Clusters programme which is part of the UK Industrial Strategy and is being delivered by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).  

Why is it important?

We want to work with industry to build a connected, enabling, ambitious ecosystem in South Wales which challenges, disrupts and progresses. To survive and thrive, the screen and news sectors need to do new things in new ways. This means:

  • understanding how technology, social trends and patterns of behaviour are changing, and anticipating what kinds of new products, services and experiences might improve people's lives;
  • using research and development and to design, challenge, refine and test ideas and bring them to market.

If the screen sector in Cardiff is to grow sustainably and compete internationally, it needs to become a home for innovation. 

Clwstwr - where ideas thrive through


Who is involved in Clwstwr? 

Clwstwr is a Research & Development (R&D) partnership between higher education and creative industries. Clwstwr is led by Cardiff University in partnership with University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University. Each has notable strengths in creative industries training, research and engagement. Read more about the three universities expertise here.

Clwstwr also brings together all major Welsh broadcasters including BBC Cymru Wales, S4C and ITV Wales with independent film and television production companies, Wales’s national companies and creative organisations, creative coworking spaces, tech start-ups, strategic agencies including Arts Council of Wales, local authorities including Cardiff Council and Welsh Government.

Where is Clwstwr based?

Clwstwr’s primary base is at Cardiff City Hall, with flexible working spaces and facilities at:

Clwstwr will focus its activities in the Cardiff City Region which includes ten local authorities: Cardiff City, Vale of Glamorgan, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Bridgend.

We will welcome applications from companies and individuals based in this region, and/or partnering with talent within the Cardiff City Region. Clwstwr is open to funding ideas from across Wales that relate to innovation in screen and news.

Who is Clwstwr for?

We are looking to work with as many individuals, businesses and organisations in our region as possible including freelancers, SMEs, large organisations, broadcasters, agencies and coworking spaces.

There are a number of ways of getting involved:

Clwstwr - how to get involved
  • A dynamic team: Our Clwstwr delivery team will work with you to explore ways to develop your R&D ideas.
  • An innovative environment: Clwstwr will develop the screen and news ecology, fostering and encouraging collaborations across creative sectors.
  • Events: Our regular events (e.g. meet ups, workshops, hacks) will be opportunities to meet new people and find inspiration.  
  • Funding:  Clwstwr will fund innovative ideas relating to either screen or news which will result in new products, services or experiences. We want to support innovations that have both an economic benefit – creating, sustaining and growing businesses – and that make the world a better (smarter, healthier, more diverse, more interesting) place.
  • Knowledge Exchange: We’ll be working to solve creative challenges by using our unique infrastructure to bring cutting edge ideas, technologies and know-how to the task.
  • Networking: Clwstwr will provide occasions to meet, and work with, new people as well as opportunities for peer-to-peer learning.
  • Professional expertise: Working with our network of Clwstwr industry partners we will provide help in the form of expertise as and when required e.g. Intellectual Property advice, information on international markets.
  • Research: Clwstwr participants will have access to, and may have the opportunity to contribute to, cutting edge university research.
  • Resources: A variety of university facilities and spaces will be available including University of South Wales’ Bespoke green screen studio for VFX filming and Motion capture & VR studio, Cardiff University’s News Innovation Lab and Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Perceptual Experience Lab (PEL) and FabLab.
  • R&D infrastructure: This mix of resources, expertise and research will be curated to provide participants in the Clwstwr programme with an R&D environment designed to develop ideas to their fullest potential.

What funding is available?

We have £2m of funding to distribute to industry across the next two years. Budgets will vary according to the scope of the innovation proposed. There are three Clwstwr funding streams:

  • Seed funding - up to £10,000 for early stage R&D for scoping work or to develop a proof of concept. We are able to fund a higher proportion of awards at this level.
  • Project funding - £10,000 to £50,000 for R&D to lead to a product/service/experience ready for commercialisation. These awards are more competitive, with value for money as a key criteria.
  • Transformative projects -more than £50,000. We will make fewer awards at this level - this is for R&D projects that have the potential to make a transformative impact.

How do I apply?

Read more about our application process here.


We want to be as open as possible and encourage all applications that relate to the screen and news sectors.

Before you submit your application, please make sure that you meet our Eligibility criteria.

What can funding be used for?

This is an indicative, not exhaustive list of what Clwstwr funds can be spent on:

  • Direct project costs
  • Staffing
  • Tech development
  • Marketing and events
  • Learning and development / user research

Can I submit more than one application?

We encourage applicants to concentrate on one idea and consider the intensity of the project. We will consider multiple applications on a case-by-case basis.

Can I reapply if I’m unsuccessful? 

Yes – at each stage, we aim to provide you with constructive feedback, to signpost potential collaborators or networks, and to help you shape and refine your project ideas. 

You can re-apply to Clwstwr for a new or different project, or for the same project provided you demonstrate that all feedback provided on your original proposal has been addressed in the resubmission. 

I have already received Clwstwr funding, can I apply for more?

We would like to fund ideas from as many different individuals and organisations as possible during the lifecycle of Clwstwr to ensure uplift across the screen sector in South Wales.

If you have received Clwstwr Seed funding (up to £10,000) and your project has been completed successfully and shows real promise, then you can apply for additional funding to complete your R&D and move towards commercialisation.

We would not normally expect to receive requests for additional investment from applicants that have already received Clwstwr Project or Transformative Funding (£10,000 - £50,000+). We would work closely with you to explore wider funding opportunities and potential partners who might help you to achieve your longer term aims.

There may, however, be exceptional circmstances where further investment from Clwstwr is possible, and anyone considering an application for additional investment from Clwstwr should carefully consider the following requirements:

· We will expect to see a clear route to commercialisation and/or economic benefit in your application;

· We will be less tolerant of risk;

· We will expect to see clear evidence of demand for the new product/service/experience;

· In line with State Aid rules for latter stage R&D (Experimental Development), we will expect to see a significant level of match funding coming from the applicant and/or third party investors, demonstrating further commitment to the new product/service/experience.

The points will be considered by our asessors in addition to our existing criteria.

Can I apply at any time?

Clwstwr will consider applications outside of our standard schedule if an applicant can demonstrate there is a clear and pressing justification.   

Reasons for Clwstwr to consider your application out of our regular calls may be:   

  • Match Funding: there is a clear argument that Clwstwr support would help you to secure significant match funding for your R&D.   
  • Market forces: Clwstwr support may assist your project in reaching or attending a specific market. 
  • Availability - Key staff, partners and / or resources may become unavailable at a later date. 

Please contact us if you would like to discuss submitting an application outside of our standard timeline.

What we are not able to support:

Clwstwr is about innovative activity that goes above and beyond business as usual, and which creates new products, services and experiences. Clwstwr is not a fund for business as usual activity, commissioning traditional forms of content or training. There may be other funds available from other sources for these activities and the Clwstwr team can signpost you to those.

What about Intellectual Property? (IP)

For projects funded in 2019, all participating companies and individuals based in Wales will retain the IP they develop in Clwstwr. Our aim is to build a sustainable and prosperous creative cluster in South Wales: - to see new businesses emerge and existing businesses grow. Should projects decide to sell IP (developed with support from the Clwstwr programme) to companies outside Wales, we retain the right to review this arrangement.

What happens to the information we share with Clwstwr?

Clwstwr’s ethos is to encourage collaboration across the sector for everyone’s mutual benefit.  We recognise this requires levels of trust from all involved.  If you are concerned about sharing information with us, please raise this with one of the team.                                      

Use of information: We will use the information you provide to deliver, manage, report and evaluate activities under the Clwstwr programme. Cardiff University and partners may carry out research related to Clwstwr activities, to help gain shareable insights, and to assess the impact of experiences and the programme itself. This may include (but is not limited to) producing published case studies or testimonies for which grant recipients would be expected to contribute.                                                             

Our full privacy policy can be found here.

Confidentiality: If you wish information to be treated as confidential by us and those we work with, please make this very clear, and mark material as confidential.   We will only consider non-disclosure agreements in exceptional circumstances.

As a public body, we may be required to disclose confidential information due to our obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (or other applicable legislation), or to Clwstwr programme funders and governance group members.

Publicity: We may ask to promote your project as part of our communications activity. If you have any queries about public relations or media coverage please email our communications team.

What does Clwstwr mean by research and development (R&D) projects?

Clwstwr is not a generic business support programme; our focus is innovation (the successful exploitation of new ideas) through a process of research (discovery of new knowledge and ideas) and development (refining, creating, trying new things). 

Clwstwr cannot fund ‘business as usual’ activities. 

Our application process asks you to demonstrate that your project is focussed on R&D activities.

We can help you develop project ideas, but as a steer, we are looking for projects that demonstrate that they:

  • are aimed at new findings (Novel)
  • are based on original, not obvious concepts and hypotheses (Creative)
  • have a level of uncertainty about the final outcomes
  • are based on a planned and budgeted approach (Systematic)
  • generate results that can be reproduced resulting in the transfer of new knowledge (Transferable/or reproducible)

What is the difference between ‘feasibility’, ‘experimental development’ or ‘industrial research’ (R&D Activities).

Applicants will be asked to categorise their project as one of these types of research activity defined below.

The type of research activity is determined by the maturity of your product, process or service.

It also determines the level of grant funding we can provide, and the proportion of match-funding expect applicants to provide. 

These conditions are determined by State Aid legislation.

'feasibility study' means the evaluation and analysis of the potential of a project, which aims at supporting the process of decision making by objectively and rationally uncovering its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as identifying the resources required to carry it through and ultimately its prospects for success;

'experimental development' means acquiring, combining, shaping and using existing scientific, technological, business and other relevant knowledge and skills with the aim of developing new or improved products, processes or services. This may also include, for example, activities aiming at the conceptual definition, planning and documentation of new products, processes or services. Experimental development may comprise prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation of new or improved products, processes or services in environments representative of real life operating conditions where the primary objective is to make further technical improvements on products, processes or services that are not substantially set. This may include the development of a commercially usable prototype or pilot which is necessarily the final commercial product and which is too expensive to produce for it to be used only for demonstration and validation purposes. Experimental development does not include routine or periodic changes made to existing products, production lines, manufacturing processes, services and other operations in progress, even if those changes may represent improvements;

'industrial research' means the planned research or critical investigation aimed at the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for developing new products, processes or services or for bringing about a significant improvement in existing products, processes or services. It comprises the creation of components parts of complex systems, and may include the construction of prototypes in a laboratory environment or in an environment with simulated interfaces to existing systems as well as of pilot lines, when necessary for the industrial research and notably for generic technology validation;

These conditions are determined by State Aid legislation. Many of the examples in these definitions refer to manufacturing or scientific processes. Do not be put off by this: part of Clwstwr’s aim is to develop these definitions so they can be seen to apply to creative production processes (which may or may not involve technology).

You can read more about these R&D definitions here.

What are the key reporting requirements for successful Clwstwr awards? 

A member of the Clwstwr team will work with successful Project Lead to finalise any necessary project documentation and a Clwstwr Grant Agreement, and then liaise on reporting on your project progress as you start delivery. They will be a source of advice and help to make sure your project complies with our terms and conditions, but they are not responsible for project management.

As a minimum, the documentation we expect to ask you for will include:

Grant Agreement Terms and Conditions: Project Lead are required to sign and return a Grant Offer Letter before any costs can be claimed on the project.

Nominated contacts: We will ask you to confirm a project contact (for operational day-to-day delivery of the project) and a finance contact (responsible for supplying any additional information required to complete financial due diligence checks or to address equerries on the budget, and who will authorise submission of financial claims).

Bank account and other financial details as necessary: in order than we can set up payments to you. We will also ask for assurance or evidence of other sources of match funding identified in your budget.

Payments, financial claims: Costs are only eligible if they are incurred and paid between the project start and end dates. We will provide you with a Financial Claim form and guidance on submitting this to us. Currently, we can only pay claims in arrears, following receipt of a claim form and checks on relevant supporting documentation. We expect grants to be claimed in line with a schedule of payments we agree with you, and against agreed project milestones.   

Document retention and audit: You should have financial systems in place to retain all records relating to a project for at least ten years after it finishes. We may visit you to review these records, or ask you provide further supporting evidence to satisfy requests under our own regulations or audits from Clwstwr’s programme funders – this is often at short notice. Project Leads will be provided with further guidance on this (currently under development and review).

I have another question, who do I contact?

We're always adding to our FAQs so please don’t hesitate to keep the questions coming.

If you have a question, get in touch with the Clwstwr team by email or telephone – all of our contact details are here.