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 £3m of funding to distribute to industry across the next three years. Budgets will vary according to the scope of the innovation proposed. There are four Clwstwr funding streams:

  • Seed (up to £10,000): to develop ideas by individuals, businesses or organisations to proof of concept stage - one to three months duration.
  • Collaborative (£10,000 to £50,000): to develop ideas based on a collaboration between freelancers, micro-businesses and SMEs – six to nine months duration.
  • Business (£10,000 to £50,000): to develop ideas from businesses or organisations – six to nine months duration.
  • Sectoral (more than £50,000): to develop ideas which have potential to transform the sector, benefiting a range of businesses and/or freelancers within South Wales – six months to two years duration.

How do I apply?

The first step is to complete and submit an online Expression of Interest. Your submission can be made in English or Welsh.

Fullscale applications will open when Expressions of Interest shortlisting has been completed and communicated to applicants.

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 the following eligibility criteria:

  • The lead applicant’s postcode should be within Cardiff City Region*.
  • The lead applicant should have a bank account that requires two signatures (excluding freelance). If freelance, the applicant has a bank account in their own name or trading name.
  • All applicants should comply with State Aid** regulations.

*While the Clwstwr programme’s footprint is the Cardiff City Region we will consider applicants that operate outside this area, where a benefit to Wales / the screen and/or news sector can be clearly demonstrated.

**We will distribute our funding in accordance with State Aid Rules. While this is a grant you will need to be fully aware of State Aid rules and ensure that you are also complying by making a declaration of any funding that you have previously received. Our team will work with you to make sure that you are clear about your responsibilities.

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

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 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.

How much will I need to report?

As this is funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council, there is some accounting to be done. We’ll be asking participants to give us some basic details about their company profile, undertaking some tracking work about your company’s growth and journey and asking you to stay in touch with us.

We will also keep in touch with you during and after the project to assess what kind of success you’ve had from engaging with Clwstwr. We may look to share broader insights with the sector to encourage knowledge exchange where appropriate. Clwstwr projects may also be demonstrated at regional, national and international showcases.

I have another question, who do I contact?

We will be adding to our FAQs as this brand-new initiative develops, 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.