BBC launches audio research partnership

The BBC will provide some of the funding for various projects looking at aspects of audio engineering at universities including Salford and Surrey
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The BBC has launched a scheme to research acoustics and audio technology in conjunction with five universities.

BBC Listening Room Salford

The BBC has teamed up with five universities to research audio engineering. Pictured is the new listening room at BBC R&D's North Lab at MediaCityUK in Salford. Photo credit: BBC

The scheme will strengthen existing ad hoc relationships with universities, including main partners the University of Salford and the University of Surrey. The BBC will also work with the universities of Southampton, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and York.

"This collaboration is another step towards more innovation in radio," said Tim Davie, BBC director of audio and music. "It will deliver significant benefits to the industry and listeners."

The BBC will fund some projects, while the universities may be eligible for funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), according to Graham Thomas, the section lead for production magic for BBC Research & Development. Thomas declined to say how much funding the BBC had made available for the project.

"There will be more focus on results for industry," said Thomas.

Research papers will be made public, and technology the BBC develops from the research will be licensed to industry as a whole.

The scheme will involve a series of projects, either at individual universities or as a group. For example, the BBC has two students starting at the University of Salford who will look at aspects of spatial audio, said Thomas.

Research areas universities will focus on include source separation, which aims to identify and isolate different sound sources from a background noise; audio semantics, or classifying audio so it can be searched by computer; spatial audio; and room acoustics.

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