The BBC has formed a strategic venture with five leading UK universities to study specific areas of sound innovation, writes Kevin Hilton. The Audio Research Partnership is led by the broadcaster and the Universities of Surrey and Salford, which together have set out a five year programme to look into areas including spatial sound and source separation. The Partnership was announced last Friday (8th July) at the MediaCityUK studio complex in Greater Manchester by Tim Davie, director of BBC Audio & Music. The BBC's facilities at the newly opened centre in Salford include a listening room for the R&D department's work, which includes Ambisonics and Periphony (pictured). The lead academic partners in the project are the University of Salford, which will concentrate on acoustics, and the University of Surrey for research into audio-visual applications. BBC R&D also has "collaborative partnerships" with the universities of Southampton, Queen Mary, University of London and York, which are also leading centres in audio research. The University of Salford (UoS) has been investigating possibilities for surround sound. It has new facilities at MCUK as well as audio labs on the main campus, which include an anechoic chamber. "The University of Salford is committed to working with industry and this is a major initiative which will let us work with a leading media organisation to transform our knowledge in acoustics research into delivering cutting-edge technology," comments Professor Yiu Lam, head of the acoustics research centre at the UoS. "We're really looking forward to working with the BBC, especially in light of our new presence at MediaCityUK." See feature for more details and an interview with Graham Thomas of BBC R&D. www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk
BBC R&D goes to college
In these highly competitive, technology reliant broadcasting times, research and development has never been more important. But as these are equally commercially tough times for broadcasters, R&D could be seen as a luxury. Kevin Hilton looks at BBC R&D's vision for future audio technologies and how academia fits in.