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 Matthew Postgate, Controller Research & Development. In 2011 the North Lab moved into SalfordMediaCityUK along with several other departments of the BBC, whilst the South Lab remained in White City in London.
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.
In the 1970s, its engineers designed the famous LS3/5A studio monitor for use in outside broadcasting units. Licensed to manufacturers, the loudspeaker sold 100,000 pairs in its 20+ years' life.
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.