R&D were delighted and honoured to welcome His Royal Highness Prince Philip when he visited us on 19 March 2004. During the visit, which was hosted by Ashley Highfield, Director of New Media and Technology, the Prince was shown a number of the projects being carried out in the Department.These included our work on Digital Radio Mondiale, automated camera coverage and access services for the disabled.This latter work was also recognised by the Royal National Institute for the Blind during the year, when they awarded BBC R&D their ‘Simply the Best’ prize for Accessible TV, Film, Books and Leisure.

This year has also seen the launch in earnest of the debate on the future of the BBC. In June the BBC set out its own vision of the contribution it might make to the UK broadcasting landscape during a new Charter period, in a document entitled Building Public Value. And, to a large extent, public value is also a fundamental tenet of BBC R&D Department – in short it is why we do our work, and why we have remained part of the public-service sector of the BBC rather than moving to one of its commercial subsidiaries.