The UK Cinema Association has launched the Technology Challenge Fund in an effort to stimulate and support the development of an inclusive technological solution that will allow people with hearing loss to enjoy a more integrated cinema experience.

In doing so, it wishes to cast the net of potential partners further than just the cinema industry, to involve also those working in wider technology and academic sectors.

The Association will provide some initial financial incentives for engagement and then – as appropriate – further limited funding for development of promising concepts, all with the hope that support from wider industry partners can be drawn in as the process develops.

The successful applicant will retain Intellectual Property (IP) rights. Should a suitable and viable product be developed that the cinema sector approves and meets the desired criteria set out in the aims and objectives, Action on Hearing Loss will help to find a suitable commercial partner to develop and create a market ready product.

The UK Cinema Association and Action on Hearing Loss will promote the product through their networks both across the UK and internationally.

Projects that the Fund will not support

In this competition, we are not funding projects that:

  • do not support an inclusive cinematic experience;
  • are not viable in financial and/or operational terms;
  • are not robust enough to withstand repeated use, and capable of straightforward maintenance or be suitable for single use; and
  • do not align with or are not compatible with existing infrastructure and mechanisms within the industry to supply the film content.


To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size; and
  • be working alone or in collaboration with others (business, research base, third sector).

Funding and project details

Up to £75,000 is available to support innovative projects in this competition.

This is initially divided across two phases:

  • Phase 1 up to £25,000 available (to a limit of £5,000 per project);
  • Phase 2 up to £50,000 available (to a limit of £25,000 per project)

Phase 1

In Phase 1, you will be expected to demonstrate the technical feasibility of your proposed innovation. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £5,000. Proposals must be completed within eight weeks.

Phase 1 applicants will be invited to a ‘development workshop’ at which they can refine and discuss their initial ideas with industry experts. Phase 1 proposals will be judged by an independent panel which will be supported by technical peer review.

Phase 2

Phase 2 is only open to applicants that have completed Phase 1 and successfully demonstrated that their concept is technically feasible. In Phase 2, you will develop and test a working prototype in a ‘real life’ cinema. Projects can range in size up to £25,000 and can last up to six months.

Phase 2 applicants will be given access to a cinema to allow testing during the development of the prototype and will have access to a technical expert to help ensure that the final solution is technically compatible with existing cinema infrastructure.

Phase 2 proposals will be judged by an independent panel.

A showcase event will be held at the end of the process at which successful prototypes will be demonstrated to relevant stakeholders, including people with hearing loss, cinema operators and potential partners able to support the commercialisation and/or adoption of the most promising solution.



June – September Application to express interest to be involved
October Launch workshop
November Development paper for Phase 1 grant
December £5,000 Phase 1 grants awarded


February Phase 1 closes
April £25,000 Phase 2 grants awarded
September Phase 2 closes
November Showcase event