Northern Ireland Screen oversees the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund (the ‘USBF’) with an anticipated budget of £1million per annum from 2011 to 2016.

The USBF will provide finance for the production of film, television or other moving image projects relating to the Ulster-Scots heritage, culture and language in Northern Ireland.

The aim of the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund is to ensure that the heritage, culture and language of Ulster-Scots is expressed through moving image. The USBF also aims to foster the Ulster-Scots independent production sector in Northern Ireland and to fund high quality Ulster-Scots cultural TV programmes for a Northern Ireland audience.


The objectives of the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund are outlined below:

  • To rise to the delivery of 12 additional hours of Ulster-Scots programming per annum in a range of genres conducive to the delivery of the heritage, culture and language aim.
  • Broadcast 90% of the USBF funded programming within 6 months of delivery.
  • Reach a significant Northern Ireland audience, primarily but not exclusively through broadcast television, with an initial audience target of 40,000 people in Northern Ireland. 
  • Achieve high levels of audience satisfaction amongst those within the Northern Ireland audience who express a particular interest in Ulster-Scots. 
  • Achieve general audience satisfaction levels consistent with those for other local programmes broadcast in Northern Ireland of a similar genre in a similar broadcast slot.

General information on applications to the USBF

  • The USBF will organise a minimum of two and a maximum of four funding rounds in 2014/15.
  • The need for a third round will be assessed depending on funding available. 
  • The USBF’s production budget for 2014/15 is £1m. 
  • Normally production companies must submit applications to the eligible broadcasters in advance of submitting applications to the USBF. 
  • First funding round 2014/15: Deadline for applications to the USBF is Friday 27th June 2014.
  • It is foreseeable that an USBF priority (e.g. with educational material) could be better achieved through a platform of delivery other than an eligible broadcaster. In this case, the production company would apply directly to the USBF without reference to an eligible broadcaster. 
  • The USBF welcomes applications for development funding. Projects are funded for development on a 50/50 basis by the USBF and the broadcaster, applicant or other funder. 
  • It should be noted that this is a competitive process in which only the best applications are awarded funding. 
  • Funding decisions are made by the USBF Investment Committee in line with the following assessment criteria:

The project complies satisfactorily with the Priorities.

Contribution to increased awareness and understanding of Ulster-Scots heritage, culture and/or language.

The quality of the proposal and the audience appeal.

Value for money/maximising the resources within the USBF.

Accessibility within the broadcasters’ schedule/maximising audience access to ensure an audience appropriate for the genre of programme can be reached.

Contribution to the growth and development of the Ulster-Scots independent production sector and infrastructure.

The commitment of match funding and satisfactory evidence that the project is additional to the programming levels already undertaken by the attached broadcaster.

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