Discover the winners of the UK’s £30m ‘5G Create’ fund

Telefonica VR image.
(Image credit: Telefonica.)

5G Create, an open competition combining British creativity with innovative 5G use cases, and part of the wider £200 million 5G Testbeds and Trials programme (5GTT), will provide six projects with a share of £30 million.

The £30 million package consists of £16.4 million from the government, which will be match-funded by organisations ranging from large tech and telecoms companies to SMEs and local authorities.

“The new funding we are announcing today will help us pioneer new ways to seize the opportunities of 5G."

Matt Warman, government minister.

“We are helping innovative thinkers across Britain use their creativity to harness the power of 5G and boost economic productivity, cut pollution and congestion, and develop the next generation of entertainment,” said Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure. “The new funding we are announcing today will help us pioneer new ways to seize the opportunities of 5G and bring tangible benefits for consumers and businesses across the country.”

Six 5G projects

The fund will be handed to projects across the country, with recipients in Sunderland, Preston, Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton and Suffolk, covering areas such as AI-controlled traffic lights, remote music festivals, telemedicine, and VR-based sports broadcasting.

Seventeen UK SMEs will be involved in the projects, and three of the six projects – 5G Edge-XR, 5G Smart Junctions and Liverpool 5G Create – will involve British SMEs trialling the use of open access 5G infrastructure and network solutions.

Below, we have listed information on the six winning projects, including the funding that each project secured:

5G FoF (Factory of the Future)

  • Total project value: £9,517,019
  • DCMS funding: £4,793,162
  • Project location: North West

BAE Systems, Advanced Manufacturing Catapult and IBM will lead a large project in Preston to build the RAF’s Tempest future fighter jet in half the projected time. Factory of the Future will use 5G to test use cases such as robotic assembly, reconfigurable product assembly lines and distributed and shared VR/AR.

BAE factory of the future.

(Image credit: BAE)

“5G technology is core to enabling the next generation of digital manufacturing processes and the acceleration of digital technology adoption across the manufacturing sector,” said Andy Schofield, Manufacturing and Materials Technology Director. “The 5G FoF programme will drive forward holistic connectivity and unlock the potential of industrial digitisation. It will define a new paradigm for how future factories will operate enabling connectivity and business agility both across manufacturing operations and beyond into the supply chain”

5G Festival

  • Total project value: £3,438,497
  • DCMS funding: £2,238,692
  • Project location: South East

The ‘5G Festival’ (5GF) project will bring live festivals and music events to audiences remotely. Audiences and artists will connect using 5G technology produced by Digital Catapult and Telefonica. For example a music fan in Edinburgh could experience their favorite artist live in LA, collaborating with another artist in London, all without having to leave their front room.

“As live performers have been totally prevented from working because of the Coronavirus, a lot of bright minds have been focused on how to create exciting alternative experiences for a virtual world,” said Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult. “The result of this work was an exciting bid into the 5G Create competition to produce a virtual festival that could offer 5G enabled experiences in which performers could reach audiences in an entirely new way.”

Smart Junctions 5G

  • Total project value: £2,336,392
  • DCMS funding: £1,160,778
  • Project location: North West

Vivacity, Weaver Labs, and Transport for Greater Manchester will use AI traffic control systems to reduce congestion and pollution. The project aims to use a 5G small cell network to decrease infrastructure costs for the connection of sensors at every junction, removing the need to mount hardware onto buildings in district centre locations.

“Vivacity is delighted to be continuing our collaboration with TfGM on developing our Smart Junctions product,” said Peter Mildon, Vivacity COO. “Small cell 5G technology offers the perfect solution to our need for low latency communications between our sensors and junction control algorithms, making this a compelling proposition in its own right.”

5G Edge-XR

  • Total project value: £2,558,494
  • DCMS funding: £1,486,004
  • Project location: East Anglia

BT’s Media and Research teams are working with TheGridFactory, Condense Reality, Dance East, Bristol University and Salsa Sound to develop virtual and augmented reality experiences to complement BT Sport’s services. 5G Edge-XR will enable people to view immersive sporting events from all angles, across a broader range of devices including smartphones, tablets, AR and VR headsets and TVs.

“5G Edge-XR will combine cloud computing and EE’s 5G network to support real time services that require uncompromised audio and visuals,” said Tim Whitley, Managing Director, Applied Research, BT. “We’re excited to work alongside world-class British companies to develop a range of prototypes for virtual, mixed and augmented reality and create experiences that will transform culture, education, engineering and entertainment.”


  • Total project value: £4,851,780
  • DCMS funding: £2,422,370
  • Project location: North East

5G CAL will focus on Connected and Automated Logistics (CAL), taking 5G enabled solutions out of the testbed environment and into an operational manufacturing environment. The North East Automotive Alliance, Vantec, Sunderland Council and StreetDrone will deliver 5G-connected, autonomous 40-tonne trucks to distribute parts and assemblies across the Nissan plant, linking to many local SMEs in their supply chain.

Vantec fleet of vehicles.

(Image credit: Vantec)

“Automated last mile logistics is one of the major innovation challenges, this is especially true in the automotive sector with its synchronous and highly complex supply chains,” said Paul Butler, Chief Executive of the North East Automotive Alliance. “This project will prove last mile delivery for an autonomous HGV, and 5G will uniquely enable the removal of the safety driver from the process, allowing remote teleoperations to overcome abnormal situations.”

Liverpool 5G Create

  • Total project value: £7,146,261
  • DCMS funding: £4,302,596
  • Project location: North West

A group of local healthcare bodies, the University of Liverpool, BluWireless (a UK 5G kit vendor) Broadway Partners (a small UK mobile operator) will build a 5G network designed to benefit local NHS, social care services and other public bodies. It will use private 5G networks to develop affordable connectivity for remote health and social care.

“The Liverpool 5G Create project will develop a private 5G network for health, social care and education services in selected areas of Liverpool,” said Professor Joe Spencer, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, University of Liverpool. “This network will reduce digital poverty for vulnerable people, providing safe, free and accessible connectivity to these services via 5G.”

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.