£3m to fund 'UK Centre for Computer Games Excellence' in Scotland

£3m to fund 'UK Centre for Computer Games Excellence' in Scotland
Michael French

By Michael French

February 11th 2009 at 8:39AM

Dundee's University of Abertay plans large-scale games expansion after Scottish Government grant

A £3 million investment from the Scottish Government will help the University of Abertay Dundee build what it describes as 'the first UK Centre for Computer Games Excellence'.

Abertay University is already widely regarded as one of the best in the UK for studying games development given that it is runs two of the now five Skillset-accredited courses for gaming studios. The university is also responsible for the Dare to be Digital competition, and last year won a Develop Industry Excellence Award for its contribution to education in the UK.

With the new investment Abertay will develop two new industry designed post graduate MSc courses dedicated to games - plus a teaching and learning space to accommodate them.

The masters programme will be based on Dare to be Digital, with 40 graduates housed in a purpose-designed professional environment for a 12-month course.

It is hoped the course will help create actual ideas for both games and serious games-style software with real world application.

Abertay’s principal and vice-chancellor Professor Bernard King said: “The global, interactive, creative media sector has a potential market value to Scotland of up to $68 billion by 2012. If in Scotland we are to be successful in reaping that economic growth potential, then we need to be continually producing new interactive products and upgrading our workforce’s skills.

“This significant capacity-building investment by the Scottish Government establishes Abertay as Scotland's University Centre of Excellence in Computer Games Education. It recognises that Scotland can be a global leader in this sector, and that Abertay can drive that ambition by providing graduates with the necessary world-class skills to succeed.”

“At Abertay, we are both confident and ambitious about the part Scotland can play in this fast-changing, global marketplace. We believe that there is a great deal more we can do to build upon Scotland's illustrious heritage in communication technologies and the creative industries, and that we can continue to contribute both knowledge and innovation, in order to support Scotland's creative industries in taking the very centre of this valuable, world stage."

Abertay has now also been accredited by Skillset as a Media Academy.

Paul Harris, Professor of Screen Media at Abertay added: “This major new investment by the Scottish Government is recognition of a combination of hard work from staff in establishing a portfolio of courses that are world standard, and the long term support of a number of industrial partners including: Realtime Worlds, BBC Scotland, BBC New Media, BSkyB, Channel 4, Electronic Arts, Blitz, Sony Entertainment Europe, Microsoft, Disney Interactive Media, and many others.

“Not only does this accreditation acknowledge the prowess of our courses but going forward, it will provide recognition of the value and impact that our graduates can have when entering the computer games and interactive media workforces. Past graduates have gone on to work for leading animation companies such as Aardman and Disney while many have set up their own companies, with good success rates.”