The West Midlands region is gearing up to lead the country in inspiring and 'de-mystifying' science with the launch of a new video-on-demand online channel – www.ideasforlife.tv.
The channel will showcase innovative science-based films from around the Birmingham Science City region, from a range of topics including transport, medicine and health, energy, materials science, and digital media.
Films such as Fast Forward, a competition between three local schools to build an eco-racing car, have proved to be hugely successful at engaging young people with modern technologies.
As part of the digital media strand, ideasforlife.tv followed the progress of a team of six digital delegates from the West Midlands who attended the recent South by Southwest Interactive Media Festival in Austin, Texas.
Films of their time in Texas can be found on the homepage of the channel, and include reactions to the keynote speech given by Mark Zuckerberg, the 23-year-old chief executive of Facebook.
The ideasforlife website – which is the brainchild of the University of Warwick and Maverick Television, one of the UK’s leading edge independent TV and new media producers – will encourage people to become more involved with science and discover what the region has to offer.
As part of the initiative, the channel will on Tuesday host a conference Using Digital Media in Marketing and Communications, featuring some of the country’s leading figures in the development and use of digital media, to highlight how small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands can take advantage of digital media.
Anthony Lilley, chief creative officer of Magic Lantern; Dr Jon Salkeld, managing director of QinetiQ’s Optronics Division and Dr Adam Rutherford, editor, Web Publishing at Nature, will be the keynote speakers at the conference that will take place at Alton Towers.
A range of interactive workshops, as well as a chance to enjoy the theme park for free after the conference has finished, will complement the speaker line up.
The project is also supported by the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands. ideasforlife.tv is one of the major initiatives from Birmingham Science City, which aims to develop and use science and technology to improve the prosperity and quality of life of the city-region, the West Midlands and the UK.
Minister of State for Science and Innovation and Labour MP for Dudley South, Ian Pearson welcomed the new channel saying: "ideasforlife.tv is a great forum for communication and an innovative solution to the key issue of making science and technology accessible to all.
"The UK has long had an enviable reputation for leading the world in terms of innovation and the West Midlands has played a big part in that story."
Jonnie Turpie, founder and digital media director at Maverick Television said: "It's an exciting time to be here – Birmingham has embraced digital media, not just in the city itself but across the West Midlands region.
"We're seeing lots of projects happening across the region that are pilots for new sorts of commercial and public service content, that local and global markets are demanding. We hope that ideasforlife.tv and the conference will help to further this trend."