Tender: Immersive Content Production for NUF

Newcastle United Foundation is seeking an ambitious, innovative, and creative immersive partner to help bring VR careers content to children and young people accessing the exciting new NUCASTLE building due to open in March 2022. The chosen agency will need to have experience of delivering educational immersive content and come with ideas for scaling initial content delivery to ultimately develop a library of diverse experiences as funding allows.

For this reason, the Foundation is looking for a long-term partner to make a real difference in young people’s lives and inspire them to explore careers education in a way they’ve never experienced before.

The closing date is 1st November 2021. The budget for this phase of the development is a maximum of £80,000.

You can read the brief below or download the full brief, with appendixes, via PDF.


Background

Newcastle United Foundation are improving the lives of almost 50,000 people in the local community each year, with record levels of participation across their Football, School and Community programmes. Using the Newcastle United brand, they engage, inspire, and motivate people that others cannot reach.

The Foundation harness the local passion for football and use it to help disadvantaged children, young people, and families across our region. From summer schools to fundraising events, the community is at the heart of everything they do, guiding how they help.

In spring 2019, Newcastle United Foundation collected the keys to Murray House Recreational Centre – a disused building that once served struggling communities in Newcastle’s city centre. Just a five-minute walk from the iconic structure of St. James’ Park, they made plans for an ambitious redevelopment of the site, proposing a world class facility for the people of Newcastle and beyond.

NUCASTLE, powered by Newcastle Building Society, will help the Foundation to reach thousands of children, young people, adults and elderly residents across the North East. NU Futures, the flagship programme in NUCASTLE will be delivered from the first floor in four innovative classrooms, including a high-tech digital hub which will feature immersive technology. The aim of the programme is to provide young people with access to engaging and exciting experiences that open their minds to new opportunities through careers education and a brand-new programme of activity involving interactive careers advice using VR and AR, supplemented with one-to-one careers mentoring.

For more information about NUCASTLE visit the following page on the Foundation website: https://nufoundation.org.uk/about-us/teamup

 

Project Background

Newcastle United Foundation have been working with Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley in order to carry out initial exploration and ideas generation for immersive content and supporting the team to understand the potential of the technology. Through the North of Tyne Digital Pathfinders programme they are now seeking tender submissions for immersive content developers to create initial content in a series of experiences that will be piloted in the NUCASTLE building as it opens its doors to young people from the region.

Digital Pathfinders is a programme designed for SMEs, charities and social enterprises based in Newcastle, Northumberland, and North Tyneside. We help businesses and organisations become more successful and resilient through the adoption of digital technology.

For more information about Digital Pathfinders visit: https://www.digitalpathfinders.uk

 

Objectives

The main objectives of this opportunity are:

  • To provide young people in the North East with an engaging, innovative and educational experience that will inspire them to explore different careers.
  • To work with Newcastle United Foundation staff and stakeholders to put young people at the heart of the development ensuring content is suitable and relevant.
  • To create an infrastructure that will allow for future development of a library of content exploring career opportunities from a wide range of sectors and jobs.
  • To deliver high quality immersive content that will invoke an emotional response and have the educational value to make a real impact on anyone who experiences it.

 

Requirements

Having spent time discussing a range of ideas, one has been prioritised to be developed as part of this tender. The creative and educational elements of the experiences would need to be defined, but to provide a basic outline, we would expect to have at least three to five “Employer Experiences” where we would work with different employers that have a diverse range of jobs, to give young people an understanding of the breadth of opportunities available to them when considering a future career. The two initial ideas of employers we have explored are:

  • The Newcastle United Experience. Meeting different members of the staff that help to run Newcastle United through an immersive experience that could take place behind the scenes on match day. From coaches to marketing staff, stewards to perhaps players this content would potentially end in walking out onto the pitch at St. James’ Park with the sound of the crowd and emotion of a topflight match.
  • The NHS Experience. Meeting members of staff in an NHS setting would provide a wide range of roles from administration to being a doctor or from nursing staff to surgery. As the Foundation already have strong relationships with the NHS this should be feasible to facilitate and would be a strong choice for a second experience.

It is intended that creation of this content would be produced in a way that could be replicated from both a format and technology perspective, providing a consistent experience while being hosted in diverse settings. This would make it possible to add new experiences based on building corporate partnerships or securing further funding, assuming successful outcomes from this pilot. We plan to update and add additional immersive experiences every 3 years.

 

Things to Consider

  • Content must be safe, accessible, and inclusive, catering for a wide range of backgrounds and abilities.
  • Content should be accessible to an age range of 11 to 25 years olds with the primary age group of 14-16 year-olds. Ideally, we would like to see examples of where you have delivered immersive content for this age group and understand your approach to inclusivity. Bearing in mind the target age group we would like to understand how you will ensure the experiences are interactive and fun to use whilst retaining the core aim of improving careers education.
  • Content would be primarily provided for up to 20x Oculus Quest headsets, but we would be interested to understand the scope and cost implications of making the content available on other headsets too.
  • We would like to understand the technology platform that the content would be developed using and whether it would be transferable and accessible by other content providers if necessary. This is crucial to prevent vendor lock-in and ensure sustainability, despite the intentions to develop a long-term relationship with the chosen supplier.
  • It is important that we capture feedback from young people who have accessed the experiences to measure impact and project success. The ideal situation would be that this is done during or right after the experience, but as part of it so that we get engaged responses. Creative ideas of how to integrate feedback are especially welcomed.
  • During ideation, the concept of “choose your story” was brought up – like platforms such as TryLife. Using this interactive format makes the filming and storytelling more complicated but would add a level of interactivity that would engage and involve the user. If this is feasible within the budget, please indicate it in your response.
  • An indication of how you would involve young people in the development process is important. The content must work for them before production begins due to the scale of the investment and experience says that involving young people not only decreases the risk of this not being the case, but they also come up with creative ideas that will add value to the output.
  • Initially it is expected that this content would only be available exclusively on headsets hosted in the NUCASTLE building, however please provide insight into any considerations that would have to be made to open the content up to other partners in the future if so desired.

 

Timescales

The project would be expected to start in November 2021 with the aim of launching at least two experiences by the end of March 2022 at the latest.

 

Tender Process

There are several phases in the tender process. We appreciate the work and time that goes into tendering. At the same time this is a critical development for Newcastle United Foundation, made possible through public funding, so we need to make sure we find the right supplier. We do not need or expect every detail to be considered at this stage but need tender submissions that will demonstrate why we should speak to you, and why you would make the ideal partner for this and future content production.

The process is as follows:

PhaseDate
Launch of tenderMonday 4th October 2021
Opportunity to submit questions untilFriday 22nd October 2021 (4pm)
Question responses publishedMonday 25th October 2021
Tender submission deadlineMonday 1st November 2021 (4pm)
Short-listing and notificationFriday 5th November 2021
Meetings with short-listed companiesw/b 8th November 2021 (estimated)
Decision made and contractingFriday 12th November 2021 (estimated)

 

If you have any questions regarding the tender, please submit them using the following form before Wednesday the 20th October: https://form.jotform.com/212307577180050

Criteria

Submissions will be assessed based on the following criteria:

CriteriaDescriptionPercent
CreativityProviding ideas and narrative that bring the immersive education experience to life.25%
Skills and experienceDemonstrable skill in developing immersive content and experience working with education and young people.25%
TimescalesAbility to provide a plan that will deliver high quality, creative content within the proposed timescales.25%
Scope and budgetCost breakdown that provides assurances that the brief can be met to a high standard within the maximum budget.25%

Budget

The budget for this phase of the development is a maximum of £80,000.

  • A full breakdown of expected costs for the various elements of development should be included, as well as estimates for costs in adding future experiences to the library.
  • If there are any ongoing costs necessary to service, the applications please provide these and ensure they are included within the budget for at least one year.

 

How to get involved

To apply for this opportunity please submit your details, and attach a proposal responding directly to the requests and criteria in this brief using the following online form: https://form.jotform.com/212307561203342