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BBC Research & Development

BBC Research
Formation 1993
Legal status Subsidiary of the BBC
Purpose Technological broadcasting research
Region served
Electronics engineers
Controller, R&D
Andy Conroy
Website /

BBC Research & Development is the national technical research department of the BBC.


  • Function 1
  • Structure 2
  • History 3
    • Innovations 3.1
    • Closure of Kingswood Warren and move to London and Salford 3.2
  • Future projects 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
    • Video clips 7.1


It has responsibility for researching and developing advanced and emerging media technologies for the benefit of the corporation, and wider UK and European media industries, and is also the technical design authority for a number of major technical infrastructure transformation projects for the UK broadcasting industry.


BBC R&D is part of the wider BBC Future Media, and is led by Andy Conroy, Controller Research & Development.[1] In 2011 the North Lab moved into Salford MediaCityUK along with several other departments of the BBC, whilst the South Lab remained in White City in London.


Former site at Kingswood Warren

The department as it stands today was formed in 1993 from the merger of the BBC Designs Department and the BBC Research Department. From 2006 to 2008 it was known as Research and Innovation but has since reverted to its original name. BBC Research & Development has made major contributions to broadcast technology, carrying out original research in many areas, and developing items like the peak programme meter (PPM) which became the basis for many world standards.


It has also been involved in many well known consumer technologies such as teletext, DAB, NICAM and Freeview. It was at the forefront of development of FM radio, stereo FM, and RDS. These innovations have led to Queen's Awards for Innovation in 1969, 1974, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2001 and 2011.

In the 1970s, its engineers designed the famous LS3/5A studio monitor for use in outside broadcasting units.[2][3] Licensed to manufacturers, the loudspeaker sold 100,000 pairs in its 20+ years' life.[4]

Closure of Kingswood Warren and move to London and Salford

In early 2010 the department had approximately 135 staff based at three locations: White City in London, Kingswood Warren in Kingswood, Surrey, and the R&D (North Lab) at the BBC's Manchester offices at New Broadcasting House, Oxford Road, Manchester. In early 2010 the Kingswood Warren site was vacated and the bulk of the department relocated to Centre House, in White City, London co-locating with the main campus of the BBC in London, whilst a significant number have moved to the new North Lab in MediaCityUK in Salford.

Future projects

BBC R&D engineers and researchers are currently active on approximately 50 projects, including 7 active national and international collaborative research efforts.

These include R&D projects built around BBC Redux[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]—the proof of concept for the cross-platform, Flash video-based streaming version of the BBC iPlayer.[13]:15

See also


  1. ^ "Introduction to the Controller". BBC R&D Blog. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Prakel, David (August 1979). "BBC's Home Service", Hi-Fi Answers, pp67–9 (Courtesy link)
  3. ^ H.D. Harwood, BSc, M.E. Whatton, C.Eng., M.I.E.E. and R.W. Mills. (October 1976) "The design of the miniature monitoring loudspeaker type LS3/5A", Research Department, Engineering Division, The British Broadcasting Corporation
  4. ^ Seydor, Paul (2 December 2008). "Stirling Broadcast LS3/5a V2 Loudspeaker". The Absolute Sound.
  5. ^ "NoTube Archive Browser Experiment 1". NoTube Archive Browser. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  6. ^ James, Bruce (5 November 2009). "ArcHak". CustardCat. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Prototyping Weeknotes #29". BBC Research & Development Blog. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  8. ^ DTG staff (18 January 2012). "'"BBC R&D develops 'mood based navigation. News.  
  9. ^ Campbell, Rosie (16 January 2012). "An Affective Interface for Mood-Based Navigation". BBC Research & Development Blog. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  10. ^ BBC Research and Development. "Multimedia Classification". Projects. Retrieved 13 May 2012. User Evaluation on BBC Redux (by BBC staff) … 
  11. ^ Highlights of the Year (PDF). BBC R&D Annual Review 2009–2010 (Report). 10 March 2011: 4. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  12. ^ Highlights of the Year (PDF). BBC R&D Annual Report 2010–2011 (Report). 15 November 2011: 5. 
  13. ^ Bird, Tom (28 May 2009). "BBC Redux" (PDF). Sheffield:  

External links

Video clips

  • History of the department and interviews with the staff
  • Talk by Matthew Postgate in Manchester in November 2009 at TEDx
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