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BBC launches Audio Research Partnership


Today, at an industry event at MediaCityUK Tim Davie, Director of Audio & Music, BBC, announced the launch of the BBC Audio Research Partnership.

BBC Research & Development will use the initiative to work in closer collaboration with leading universities in the field of audio research and innovation. Its primary academic partners will be University of Surrey for audio-visual research and University of Salford for research into acoustics. In addition, BBC R&D will also work very closely through collaborative partnerships with the universities of Southampton, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and York. All five partner universities are world-leaders in audio research.

BBC R&D and its partners are committed to supporting the initiative for at least five years and the benefits of its research will be shared with industry to enable innovations like HD audio and Radio Player both of which launched recently.

This marks a new model of partnership for BBC R&D and it demonstrates its growing commitment to increase its collaborative work with external partners from both academia and industry. The partnership will embrace additional collaborations with other UK and international universities and research institutes, in addition to close working relationships with industry.

Tim Davie says: “This collaboration is another step towards more innovation in radio. It will deliver significant benefits to the industry and listeners.”

Matthew Postgate, Controller Research & Development BBC, says: “We are absolutely delighted that our audio research partnership is now launched. We are certain that by combining the expertise of world-leading academics with the practical industrial knowledge of BBC R&D engineers we will significantly advance the field of audio research for broadcasting.”

Professor Yiu Lam, Head of Acoustics Research Centre, University of Salford, says: “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. We’re really looking forward to working with the BBC especially in light of our new presence at MediaCityUK.”

Professor Adrian Hilton, head of the University of Surrey’s Visual Media Research Group, has collaborated with the BBC on different projects over the past decade introducing novel technologies for both audio and visual projection.

He said: “The new BBC Partnership will establish a strategic relationship for audio-visual research at Surrey. It is an exciting time and we hope that our collaboration will continue to flourish and provide significant benefits to those who use watch and listen to the BBC’s broadcasts across a wide spectrum of programmes.”

Technical areas of focus:
• The audio centre will focus on four core areas of research initially
• Source separation (independent component analysis for audio un-mixing)
• Audio semantics (automated metadata generation)
• Spatial audio (including Ambisonics and Periphony)
• Room acoustics (including optimising rooms for spatial audio both at the broadcaster and consumer end)

Pure research focus:
• Speech recognition (for applications including archives and accessibility)
• Audio coding (low latency and IP delivery)


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