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Train the Trainer

Train The Trainer Elaine edit


Train the Trainer scheme is to enable researchers and teachers in UK higher education to receive funding for a project centred around research and teaching development in immersive storytelling.

The aim is for educators to develop or lead a project that allows them (and their team) to interrogate a range of emergent challenges in immersive experience creation, and to create teaching materials and learning logs.

It supports two different approaches: research-led (production focused) and teaching-led (workshop focused) projects.

Importantly, educators must be able to feed and integrate the learning from their project, into courses for undergraduate, postgraduate, further and widening participation education students.

Funding: the scheme supports applications in the range of £12,000 to £20,000

The call has now closed.


StoryFutures Academy is led by the National Film & Television School and Royal Holloway University of London. Our overall aim is to support the growth and development of a UK-wide talent-pipeline to help make the UK a world-leader in immersive storytelling. Much of that work includes training and up-skilling those from film, TV, and games, to harness the talent of established storytellers, and to provide as many onward opportunities with funded professional placements on immersive productions, Kickstart and Production Booster funding schemes and Co-production opportunities.

We also carry out work on skills analysis. Of 100 companies surveyed and from interviews with 25 industry leaders, our research indicated that 44% were worried about lack of graduates and the supply chain. Full findings can be found in our first published report, Skills for immersive experience creation; Barriers to growth in the UK’s Immersive Economy here.

Train the Trainer is a scheme that aims to help build the talent pipeline so that immersive can fulfil its potential in the UK.

The two types of project funding

Teaching-led: For UK teaching-focused staff

For teaching-focused staff, the funding is to encourage the creation of workshops, training scenarios and use of tools that explore emergent challenges in immersive storytelling. These are aimed at helping to develop a UK skills base by enabling teachers to explore how to train students and other trainers in immersive storytelling.

Research-led: For UK research-focused staff

For UK staff on research contracts, the funding is to encourage the creation of an immersive experience or prototype that will explore emergent challenges in immersive storytelling. These are aimed at helping to develop a UK skills base by enabling researchers to explore student participation on the project and how to train other trainers.

Key Themes

All projects must address immersive storytelling challenges – broadly conceived – such as exploring established or emergent storytelling forms e.g. point of view, editing, spatial sound and attention, haptic engagements etc.

And we are interested in applications that address one or more of the following three key themes identified by the Skills for Immersive Experience Creation report launched by StoryFutures Academy in January 2020, as a priority to growth of immersive in the UK.

1. Interdisciplinarity, from STEM to STEAM: Projects or workshops that deliberately fuse arts with the sciences to promote interdisciplinary team building, bring together teams from disciplines such as computer science and media; engineering and drama; art and design and physics.

2. Game Engines in new contexts: Projects or workshops that use real time game engines and/or gaming mechanics in collaborative storytelling contexts with other screen industries, such as film, television, theatre and music.

3. Key Skills: Projects or workshops that address areas where skills are seen as crucial to successful projects and/or gaps have been identified as an industry concern, such as programming, business development, real time game engine technical artists, interaction designers, creative directing, producing, UX Designer, Motion/Volumetric capture artists, or interactive writers. Projects that tackle more than one key skills role are welcome.

Application Eligibility

Funding will only be provided where the applicant can demonstrate that the project proposed is deliverable for the money requested within the defined time period, and where the project specifically addresses the criteria set out below:

  • Applications must be made by a Principal Investigator employed at a UK registered Higher Education Institution;
  • Applicants and all team members must be 18+;
  • Applicants are encouraged to apply as a collaborative team from more than one Educational Institute, but there must be a lead institution that will contract with StoryFutures Academy who receive and administer the grant, including arrangement of any collaborative agreements or subcontracts as necessary (Note: while working across institutions is encouraged, in the present circumstances given Covid-19, this is not a condition);
  • Applicants are expected to grant StoryFutures Academy the use of anonymised data related to the project in academic and industry-facing research publications;
  • Applicants are expected to share with StoryFutures Academy the learning from the project in the form of a learning log, in order for StoryFutures Academy to create a data base of teaching modules;
  • Priority will be given to projects that support immersive storytelling and production within disciplines such as computer science, engineering, digital and media, design, animation etc and to those with an interdisciplinary approach.

Key Dates

Call Closes - Midnight Sunday 3rd May 2020

Workshop 1 for cohort (and mentors) - 4th & 5th June 2020

Project Cycle Commences - 6th June 2020

Workshop 2 for cohort (and mentors) - 9th & 10th July 2020

Monthly Virtual Hangouts - July 2020 - December 2020

Workshop 3 for cohort (and mentors), Framing the Learning - 12th & 13th Nov 2020

DELIVERY of all project outputs - 11th December 2020

Final Showcase - January 2021


A key output for each stream is the development and delivery of a range of teaching materials that can be used on future courses that integrate or establish immersive storytelling in the lead-applicant’s home institution and beyond.

Note that in present circumstances, institutes need to be able to guarantee that their project is deliverable within government’s safe social distancing guidelines and, therefore, we are unable to fund live action projects on this call.




A summary of your plans for the next steps of the project, including detail of how, when and on which courses the learnings will be integrated



Participation of students in project or sample test group (min. 12)



A build or treatment of the immersive prototype or final piece, in a format which can that can be previewed in StoryFutures Academy Immersive Labs (wherever possible)



A record of the training workshop(s) in the form of video, audio or photographic record that can be shared in the StoryFutures Academy working labs (wherever possible)



A Learning Log summarising the outcomes of the project, detailing key lessons learned. This should include a summary of the results of any creative, technical or audience/trainer testing that has been carried out. A template will be provided.



Sample course materials that show how your training or researching initiative can be taught more widely



Further Details

Eligible costs

The following costs are eligible:

  • Time for (key) named trainers/researchers on the project, such as teaching relief or remission from administrative duties;
  • Creative and development costs (e.g. writers, technical development);
  • Equipment and studio hire;
  • Equipment purchase (up to a maximum of 20% of total costs applied for);
  • Residency fees to support producers working in relevant collaborative environments;
  • Expertise and consultancy of freelance professionals or company partners;
  • All projects should make an allowance for the following costs:

a/ Travel costs, including for attendance at 3 x workshops at StoryFutures Academy

b/ Allow up to £200 to purchase immersive experiences so that teams can develop a range of knowledge about AR/VR/MR.


We will provide the following support to each successful project:

Access to a team of industry mentors who have a range of skills in immersive production and in project design/management and who will:

  • Deliver 4 days of workshops across the project cycle, including a kick off workshop aimed at helping the cohort of winning projects to access best in class examples of VR/MR work, to meet each other and share project ambition as well as benefit from inspiring ‘how to’ sessions from industry professionals (Note: in present circumstances, some of these will be delivered virtually);
  • Offer more specific help in the design, development and delivery of the projects, including one-on-one project ‘clinics’ at workshops e.g. tech clinic, budget clinic, design clinic etc.;
  • Specialist input will also be offered at regular stages throughout the project cycle with monthly scheduled virtual hangouts and phone calls;
  • Offer a mid-project critical review;
  • Provide access to a broader network of industry professionals for further advice and collaboration;
  • Co-design or assist in the development of future learning materials;
  • Showcase the project (Jan 2021).

Please email for any enquiries.

UK Map5

Application Judging Criteria

  • Theme fit and innovation: The extent to which the application clearly aligns with addressing immersive storytelling challenges and one or more of the three key themes (priority areas) identified in the call in an innovative and rigorous manner
  • Appropriate team skills: Applicants must demonstrate they have a team able to develop and deliver immersive experiences and workshops (as appropriate), including access to the necessary skills and tools to deliver the planned project
  • Value for money and realistic timeframe: whether the budget proposed is reasonable with respect to being able to deliver the proposed project and required deliverables, and within the proposed timeframe (delivery by 11th December 2020)
  • Impact and deliverables: Demonstrate that the project can fulfil all required deliverables, especially that it will develop course materials and plans that can be integrated into at least one HEI, clearly identifying the course(s), type and size of student body that will benefit from the project. Plans might include, for example, the launch of new degree/course pathways; augmenting existing programmes; new HEI collaborations; new HEI and non-standard training collaborations. Institutional support for the application at department, school or faculty level is therefore necessary (please upload email/letter of support)
  • Industry partnership: Industry partnership is encouraged but not essential. Where industry partners are involved, applications will be assessed according to the strength of that partnership and the extent to which the project aligns with the identified industry need
  • Commitment to diversity – StoryFutures Academy is committed to supporting storytellers from a range of diverse backgrounds to work with immersive technology. This includes a commitment to reach a minimum of 50% female and 20% BAME participants across our programmes. Applications will be asked to set out the gender and ethnic make-up of their teams with reference to these targets. We will take a portfolio approach to applications, ensuring that across supported projects this target is met.
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