As part of our Creative AI Demonstrator Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), we are looking to support small scale rapid R&D projects that explore Creative AI in the context of music and audio. We are asking for proposals up to £5k, and are hoping to fund 10 projects through this call which will create new Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). An MVP is an early, basic version of a product that demonstrates minimum necessary requirements and enables you to validate a product idea. We welcome both initial development of new products and services, as well as new kinds of creative experiences.
If you are an individual or a small team that would like to develop a new product or service using Creative AI in the context of music or audio work, you can apply for funding of up to £5,000 to support a rapid turnaround R&D project.
We have extended the deadline for applications! It will now close on Monday 26 June at 5pm.
There are various definitions of Creative AI. For this call we are interested in the use of AI in creation of music and audio, or the use of AI in working with sound data of any kind. We are particularly interested in the use of AI in music and audio production that goes beyond playful experiments, and could potentially make a real economic impact as a new product, service, experience or business model.
We welcome applications from anywhere in Scotland – a significantly expanded scope to our usual Creative Informatics projects – and are happy to discuss potential applications with you at our discovery workshop, or get in touch to arrange a quick one-to-one chat. We will also be updating our FAQs on this call as we see new questions coming in.
If you are interested in applying and would like to discuss your application idea with the CI team, join us for our online Creative AI Music & Audio Pilot Projects Call Discovery Workshop on Thursday 1st June at 10am.
As a Creative AI Music & Audio Pilot project recipient, you will have access to:
- Up to £5,000 of grant funding (VAT exempt)
- Access to researchers working in this space
- Support and signposting to relevant contacts and funding opportunities from Edinburgh Innovations and the Creative Informatics team
- Invitations to participate in and present at Creative Informatics events
You will also be asked on the application form what type of expertise, advice, or access to resources might be useful for realising your project. Please do let us know if there is an particular expertise or resources such as software, hardware, computation that we may be able to support you with.
At the end of the Creative AI Demonstrator project in late 2023 we will have an event which will showcase all of the projects we have supported, along with the report we will be creating, and its recommendations for creatives, industry and funders.
APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS
This call for Creative AI Music & Audio Pilot Projects is running as a single open call, taking place in Spring 2023. A selection panel will review applications and the Creative Informatics team will notify applicants of their outcome shortly afterwards, with feedback following at a later date.
Once successful applications have been selected you will be asked to complete a workplan and ethics form [https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3610104], and we will provide a contract. Grant funding will awarded across two payments, with the majority up front and no less than 15% to be paid on receipt and approval of a final report on your project.
As with all previous Creative Informatics funded projects, you will retain the IP to any R&D you undertake under this funding. We do however ask that you provide us with documentation, images, videos etc. to help share your work and the work of the wider project.
Applicants can be individuals, partnerships or small to medium enterprises (SMEs). You are eligible whether (currently) registered as an organisation or not.
- Be an individual or organisation undertaking creative work. We define ‘creative’ through the nine recognised DCMS creative industries sectors (Advertising and Marketing; Architecture; Crafts; Design (product, graphic and fashion); Film, TV, Video, Radio, Photography; IT, Software and Computer services; Museums, Galleries and Libraries; Music, Performing and Visual Arts; Publishing)
- Be proposing a new product, service, experience or project to develop an idea with genuine impact for the creative industries. Proposals which also have potential to impact upon wider sectors are welcome.
- Be based in and/or be undertaking work that has impact for the creative industries within Scotland.
- Be submitting a proposal that meets the selection criteria (see below).
- Commit to providing accurate information about business income, spend on Research and Development (R&D), etc. as per the requirements of the application form. This includes providing accurate information regarding State Aid that is required to ensure Creative Informatics meet essential reporting and due diligence requirements.
- Be aware that this funding is part of a wider research project and therefore, whilst you will retain the IP for any work you undertake, the Creative Informatics programme expects to be able to discuss your project – although we will always be respectful of commercial confidentiality and elements that are not appropriate to publicise.
We particularly welcome applicants who come from diverse backgrounds of all kinds, particularly those from global majority (BAME) and those from less privileged backgrounds. There are many well documented issues and challenges around AI and diversity, encourage all applicants to discuss their approach to equality, diversity and inclusion in their applications.
Applicants are asked to submit a proposal which must:
- Clearly articulate the product, service, experience or idea they will be developing during their project.
- Be proposing work with a clear focus on music, audio, sound, or be proposing a product, services or experience that will positively impact and enable the work of creatives and businesses in the music and audio production space.
- Represent genuine R&D around Creative AI and/or the use of AI or machine learning (ML) in creative businesses or practices. This can include innovative application of more established tools, techniques, approaches or business models in new contexts (or to different sectors), or as new types of offerings or business models.
- Have the potential to be developed into a commercial/income generating product.
- Be a project which can be undertaken in a rapid turnaround 3 month project. We don’t expect you to deliver a full product in this time, but we expect you to be able to achieve some clear development and progressed in the course of this short project.
- Be supported by a commitment to engage with the Creative Informatics team on monitoring, reporting, research and evaluation work around the project. Reporting and payments schedules will be mutually agreed at the outset of successful projects.
- Comply with ethical and legally compliant data practices.
- Include a realistic budget outlining how any funding will be used by you during your project.
The team at Creative Informatics is happy to discuss your proposal and answer questions at any stage of your application, from initial idea to filling in the application form. Please email email@example.com to set up a meeting.
What level of MVP are you specifically looking for?
We’ve kept this open because we are keen to explore what the creative sector in Scotland needs to make use of these creative technologies. Proposals should focus on developing something using Creative AI but your project could be at an early or established stage, providing that the funding is used for R&D.
Can I submit an idea that is part of a collaborative project?
Yes, collaborations are absolutely fine and we also welcome cross sector/art form collaborations. This call is Scotland-wide and we are also open to collaborations between Scotland based creatives and a partner based elsewhere.
What level of AI and/or ML are you looking for in these projects?
We are interested in things that cover AI and Machine Learning through developing and creating something innovative and interesting with the technology. Given the funding levels and timeframe, we are realistic about what can be achieved so it may that your project might look at applying existing technology to something new; it may be a new development of an existing piece of relevant work; or it may be more early stage and exploratory in nature and output.
Do you accept cross sector projects?
Proposals for this funding call can span other creative sectors but must have specific relevance to music and audio production with AI. If you’re interested in Creative AI in other creative sectors, we are happy to discuss the wider Creative AI Demonstrator project and other opportunities that might be available. Please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens if I am successful and develop the idea in my proposal but this idea fails, someone else launches before me, or I’m not able to take this forward as a business?
That’s OK. We will be keeping in touch with you and you should alert us to any issues or difficulties as early as possible so that we can provide support and understand how your project is progressing. Through your engagement the Creative Informatics team we may also notice that a project isn’t working and provide advice, if needed, on potential tactics to address these difficulties.
This funding is aimed at reaching people with a good chance to take forward their data driven creative idea, but we also know that not all of these ideas can or will be successful, particularly in a space as fast moving and complex as Creative AI. The funding is awarded without the need for repayment. We just ask that you keep us informed throughout the project – so, for instance, if you find out early on that the project won’t work, we do ask that you let us know as early as possible (this also allows us to redeploy any unspent funding to other projects if appropriate).
We may, on rare occasions, opt to discontinue funding work if it is not progressing adequately and/or the recipient is not engaging with the team or complying with reporting requirements. Further details of these requirements will be included in the contract between you and Creative Informatics.
What if my idea or product changes during the project?
That’s OK and, especially in such an emergent space we expect ideas to develop and change. If any major change occurs, then we do ask (and this will be noted in contracts) that you provide a formal (written) notification (we have a short standard Project Change Request Form for this). This notification enables us to review what you are doing and whether the change effects alignment with our selection criteria. If the project remains well aligned, then funding should be unaffected.
We do reserve the right not to continue funding a project if it no longer falls within our funding scope but, under those circumstances, we do aim to provide signposting to other suitable funding sources where we can.
What kind of access to advice can I expect?
We are working with several experts in Creative AI and music and audio production with AI, as well as having access to a much wider network of creative industries companies and expertise. Tell us what kind of advice you are looking for and we will do our best to connect you to suitable support and expertise. The Creative Informatics team is also experienced at providing advice to projects in areas such as business development, funding, communications etc. Please ask for what you need and we will do our best to match you with suitable expertise and advice.
When I am creating a budget for my project should it be inclusive or exclusive of VAT?
This pilot project funding is a grant for R&D (Research and Development) and should therefore be VAT exempt. However, how you handle VAT will depend on the status of you/your business. We are aware that many of our applicants will not be registered for VAT. If your business is registered for VAT and you are required to charge VAT, please provide a budget that includes VAT (to a maximum of £5,000 inclusive of any applicable VAT). Please note the maximum budget for these projects (regardless of VAT status) is £5,000.
More information on VAT is available on Gov.uk VAT and businesses page. https://www.gov.uk/vat-businesses
Can I apply for this funding and support if I have already received funding from Creative Informatics in the past?
Yes, if you have received funds from another stream of the project you are still eligible to apply. However, we are particularly excited to work with applicants who are new to us and/or those who have previously been ineligible because of location.
How will payments be made?
You will be asked to provide us with information so that you can be set up as a supplier on the University of Edinburgh payments system. We will agree a payments schedule (expected to be two payments, one at the start and one at the end (for no less than 15% of the total) of your project) and this will be included as an appendix to your contract with us. Payment will then be made directly to your bank account.
I’m not based in Edinburgh or South East Scotland – am I eligible to apply?
Yes! This funding call is open to applicants based in and working across any part of Scotland. Applicants outside of Scotland will not usually be eligible unless they can make an exceptional case for the relevance and economic impact of their work for the Scottish creative sector and economy.
Are academic projects eligible to apply?
We are looking for projects from the creative industries for this call – so ideas coming from entrepreneurs and start-ups. We are also happy to see proposals for potential MVPS that have started as academic projects (including student projects), but are now looking to become standalone products, services or experiences. Because we want to fund work that could lead to an MVP, we are unlikely to select a purely research project. However, we very much welcome academic engagement in the wider Creative AI Demonstrator projects and would encourage you to get in touch if you have a compelling idea, you are keen to take forward so we can understand the type of support you might be looking for.
Are Creative AI projects unrelated to music eligible to apply?
No, not for this call. However, we would encourage anyone working with Creative AI to get in touch with us and participate in the wider Creative AI Demonstrator project as, whilst this is a focused music and audio call, we are interested in representing the needs and potential for AI across the creative industries.
How polished does my proposed MVP need to be?
These are rapid turnaround projects and have a relatively small budget so we are very much looking for potential rather than polished product. However, we would like to see ideas that could become a sustainable product, service or experience so will prioritise these kinds of project over broad exploratory work.
If successful, what will I be required to deliver?
We will expect all projects to:
- Return all required paperwork to start the project, to invoice us for their payments, and to share (broad) details of how the money was spent (we have a standard workplan template for this).
- Produce an interim and final report on their project explaining what they have done and how they plan to take this forward in the future (we have a standard template that will be provided at the start of your project).
- Share evidence of their MVP – in the reporting, or through access to online prototypes, videos, images etc. that documents the completed work.
- Participate in a showcasing event at the end of the project (later 2023, date TBC with projects once underway).
- Be responsive to requests to share their work through case studies, a blog post, participation in relative events etc.
- Allow Creative Informatics to discuss the project in research papers, reports and other academic outputs, when discussing the Creative AI Demonstrator.
Does my project need to align to the Creative Informatics Cluster core challenges (how can data driven innovation support access and engagement to new audiences and markets; support the development of new modalities of experience; unlock the hidden values of archives and data sets; reveal new business models for the creative industries)?
No, this isn’t a requirement or eligibility criteria for this call, however we do think that many of these questions are pertinent to Creative AI so you will see a similar question in our application form, encouraging you to think about how the idea you are proposing is innovative in the music and audio space.
My idea isn’t accurately described as AI, but I am using machine learning (ML), is it likely to be in scope?
Yes. We see a lot of blurring between definitions of ML and AI and we are happy to consider projects that use either of these approaches (or combinations of ML and AI).
Do I own the rights to anything I produce under this funding, or does Creative Informatics?
As in all previous Creative Informatics strands, you will retain all rights to anything you create or produce under this funding.
I have a great idea – but it may end up in the singularity!
Creative Informatics will help successful projects to undertake a data ethics assessment prior to contracts and funding being issues. Hopefully this will be enough to ensure against the rise of the killer robots.
If you have any further questions about this funding, please contact the Creative Informatics team at email@example.com.