BORDER CROSSINGS: Want to turn your research into a documentary film? (Deadline May 23, 2018)

Filmmakers, are you ready for an academic project to inspire your storytelling? Would you like to collaborate with some of the world’s leading scholars? Could your film skills make some brilliant academic research accessible to wider audiences?

Academics, do you have a research story that could be turned into a documentary film project? Would you like to collaborate with a professional filmmaker with an established track record? Do you want to share your research with a wide public audience?

To celebrate our new Creative Documentary by Practice MFA (to be led by Sophie Fiennes, Kim Longinotto and Riete Oord), Open City Documentary Festival are relaunching their Border Crossings initiative with a £5,000 development fund for filmmakers collaborating with academics who have a research story in search of an author. A runner’s up prize of £2,500 will also be awarded.

Taking place as part of UCL’s Festival of Culture, this is an exciting ‘speed-dating’ initiative aiming to build partnerships, to create opportunities for research and knowledge to be translated into insightful and engaging documentary and to allow filmmakers access to table-turning research stories.

The deadline for applications is midnight on 23rd May 2018

There are places for 10 filmmakers and 10 researchers. During the course of the two hour session, researchers and filmmakers will meet to discuss their work and will form teams following this meeting. These teams will be eligible to apply for the £5,000 development fund. All applicants will pitch their projects to a panel of expert judges during Open City Documentary Festival 2018 (4th – 9th September). The award will go to the most exciting and viable project pitched.


To apply for a place at the Border Crossings event on the 7th of June, please fill in the below form

Academics – APPLY

Filmmakers – APPLY



Do you love documentary? Are you a postdoctoral scientist? Sheffield Doc/Fest is offering five researchers the opportunity to attend this year’s Festival.

Network with filmmakers and broadcast commissioners, and see some of the world’s finest documentary films being made today. Travel, accreditation, and accommodation are covered. Applicants must have a PhD in biomedical sciences.

Wellcome Trust are also supporting a series of talks at the festival which researchers might enjoy: 

Please contact with a short bio and reasons why you would like to attend Doc/Fest.

How to collaborate with radio and TV producers to create ideas for chemistry-based content

The Academic Ideas Lab is running a workshop supported by The Royal Society of Chemistry to encourage chemists to take part in training for radio & TV, as well as competitions such as the Sheffield International Documentary Festival.

Many academics are keen to reach large numbers of the public with their research and with their expertise in and passion for their subject. Mainstream media can deliver this, but for most researchers the process of working with radio and TV producers is completely unknown. This training is designed to help chemists who are interested in engaging the public with chemistry through interesting and innovative programming.

This workshop offers training to 10 chemists based in research institutions in the Midlands. The aim is to give chemists in academia the skills and contacts to collaborate with TV and radio producers to develop ideas for new programming featuring chemistry on mainstream channels with large audiences. This is not ‘media training’ in the sense of providing on-camera skills for being interviewed.

The workshop aims to

  • Improve their understanding of factual radio and television development
  • Increase their skills at developing ideas based in chemistry for mainstream audiences
  • Give them time with TV and radio producers from respected production companies to refine their ideas and to build personal contacts to collaborate further on chemistry-based ideas

Travel expenses and some funding towards childcare expenses are available for successful applicants. Successful applicants will be required to complete a non-disclosure agreement as a condition of taking part. There will also be some filming taking place during the workshop, which will require consent on a separate consent form. Successful candidates will be required to complete a form to evaluate the day, to provide some short feedback on camera, and to reply to follow-up emails at 2 and 4 months post-workshop to enable the training provider and the Royal Society of Chemistry to discover more about the longer-term impact of the training. We particularly encourage applications from women and from BAME groups as these are under-represented in broadcasting.

Applications are open now until 5pm on Friday 4th December. Download the application form and information for applicants below in the link. 



Lucy Vernall
The Academic Ideas Lab
0121 6033980

To register and for further info: