The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts is a strategic partnership between the Arts Council, Nesta and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). It is unique in encouraging collaboration between the arts, digital technology providers and the research community in order to undertake experiments from which the wider arts and cultural sector can learn.

The £7 million fund will be made available over three years, starting from 2012/12, to support research and development projects that use digital technology to enhance arts' audience reach and/or explore new business models.

Applications to the fund opened on 13 July 2012. For more information and to apply, visit the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts website.

The fund will build on the 2011 pilot programme to achieve a step change in the innovative use of digital technologies by the arts and cultural sector in England. The focus of the fund will be to support organisations to develop their business models and audiences through digital technologies. 

Key themes

The fund will focus on key themes identified in collaboration with the arts sector. These themes are:

User generated content and social media

Harnessing the power of the internet and social media to reach audiences and to give them a platform for discussion, participation and creativity.

Digital distribution and exhibition

Using digital technologies to deliver artistic experiences and content in new ways in online and place based environments, including exploring international distribution and exhibition.

Mobile, location and games

Developing a new generation of mobile and location-based experiences and services, including games.

Data and archives

Making archives, collections and other data more widely available to other arts organisations and the general public.


Using digital technologies to improve the way in which arts organisations are run, including business efficiency and income generation and the way in which they collaborate with each other.

Education and learning

Developing interactive education and learning resources for children, teachers, young people, adult learners and arts sector professionals.

For more information about the fund and to apply, visit the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts website.