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Support and Development

This section of the Roadmap describes how digital music research can be supported. As part of the Roadmap process, the Digital Music Research Network held discussions to explore useful support and development mechanisms. Some of the suggestions and issues raised by members of the Digital Music Research Network, and others who attended Network conferences and events, are described below. Support for research networks and communication

Communication between research groups and shared information are important for the continued development of research in this field. While the Digital Music Research Network (supported by the EPSRC) has established events and approaches which have facilitated dialogue between researchers in the UK, there is a need for continued long term and stable support at a national level. Small groups of researchers will be able to sustain some activity, but promotion and support for UK researchers at international conferences or regular support of young researchers cannot be sustained without targeted financial support at a national level. Organisations whose core business is related to the support and promotion of UK research communities or European research communities should support and encourage this activity in the long term.

The digital music research community will require continued support if it is to maintain the momentum begun by the activities of the Digital Music Research Network. Communication between researchers, through national conferences, information exchanges, sharing of research findings, opportunities to discuss and develop future coordinated research proposals will all be important to capitalise upon the strengths of the UK digital music research community.


Bullet Research Funding

Research in digital music will be well supported by themed calls for proposals in line with those described in Roadmap Themes and Research Goals. This will allow funds to be targeted at key areas of research to sustain and develop research activity.

Further collaborations between research councils will be required to support transdisciplinary research in new ways. Support for core research activities is required that is not well served currently by existing collaborative funding schemes. Current art/science based schemes, for example, do not fully address the needs of true transdisciplinary research activities.

To establish good support from research funding organisations for future digital music research, research proposal reviewers, review panels and peer review colleges will require clear guidance and training about the nature and approach to the assessment of transdisciplinary research schemes.


Bullet Support mechanisms within institutions and beyond

Mechanisms can be developed to encourage and support digital music research within institutions. The ability to facilitate research activity across departmental boundaries will be beneficial to this area of research and to other emerging disciplines.

Institutional support could identify methods to unite specialists and facilities across internal departments. Valuable contributions to the field could be made through inter-departmental research partnerships, e.g. an institution may be able to establish a psychology/music collaboration that would in turn contribute unique expertise to inter-institutional research collaborations with engineering or computing research groups.

Universities, university departments and funding organisations should consider strategic resource provision to support and develop digital music research, building upon the research expertise of active UK research groups. These resources should complement existing UK research infrastructure and support the research goals outlined in this Roadmap.

There is some potential to explore the use of existing archive collections of recorded music in engineering-based research in music information retrieval.

Universities could support further industrial links in a wide range of digital music research activity identified in this Roadmap. Regional Development Agencies or local industries may support development in this area.


Bullet Cooperative research

Many aspects of the roadmap point towards an integration of research skills and research expertise to advance the field. Making the best use of research strengths and the expertise of different groups within the UK will be necessary to address many of the research themes and goals identified for the next ten year period.

There are opportunities for research in the application and integration of existing digital music technologies, and a potential to roll out research outcomes for wider application in, for example the application of machine listening technologies for general purpose human computer interfaces.


Bullet Research development

There is a need to support the development of new research projects which span engineering, music, computing, psychology, science or human sciences. Support for conference events and communications which can provide high quality information about state-of-the-art knowledge in a variety of fields would be effective (topics such as neuroscience research with implications for sound, audio or audio perception research).

Digital music research outcomes could be better disseminated to other music related research disciplines. Many digital music researchers publish exclusively within the community. Further dissemination and promotion of digital music research to those working in music (musicologists, musical analysts, performers or archivists), or other areas of arts/media, will support further development and application of such research.

New methodologies need to be developed in some areas, identified in Research Goals within this Roadmap, to address emerging questions (see Fertile Environments for Creativity).


Bullet Industrial development

The gap between academic research outcomes and the ability for industry to use and apply these, described in 2) of Challenges in the Digital Music Research section of the Roadmap, requires new funding methods.

Resources are needed to establish appropriate relationships between academic and industrial research communities in digital music.


Bullet Education

Appropriate strategies and methodologies for transdisciplinary education in digital music research need to be explored. Many issues relating to inter- and transdisciplinary education are not exclusively related to digital music and dialogues need to be established between international interdisciplinary research communities and the digital music research community.

The development of research training courses providing a range of digital music research skills is required. Older models of music/engineering collaborations may not support the range of skills required for future research activities in the field.


Bullet Infrastructure

The future development of a directory of UK digital music research equipment and facilities infrastructure could allow UK researchers to use key facilities effectively, such as anechoic chambers, performance and presentation spaces, surround sound test facilities, recording studios etc. A resource directory of this type could also include equipment and facilities used in complementary areas of research, e.g. in human- or neuro-science research.


Bullet Musical contexts

The research context, described in Music Innovation in the Research Goals section of the Roadmap, identifies the importance of research carried out in a professional music context. This should be considered when assessing funding proposals.

Support for dissemination, application, promotion and awareness of new digital music innovations would be a valuable contribution to the development of the field. These activities would also encourage take-up of research outcomes. Use of new technologies to distribute innovative musical outcomes, such as streaming services, materials issued under new licences or file downloads and podcasts will be valuable additions to normal dissemination methods.


Bullet Student conferences

Support for young researchers is important to establish good practise during postgraduate courses. A national scheme to enable interaction between student researchers working across the range of activities within digital music research is required. Sustainable links should also be established between young UK and EC researchers.


Bullet Research in a European context

Opportunities for collaborative research with European groups should be encouraged.