Cabinet Secretary plays Dundee computer game in Shanghai to mark new university partnership

A computer game developed in Dundee was played in Shanghai by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning to mark the launch of a new partnership between Abertay University and Shanghai University.

Fiona Hyslop MSP was presiding over the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will see Shanghai’s acclaimed College of Digital Arts become the first international partner of Abertay’s recently-designated Scottish Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education.

The agreement was signed by Professor Bernard King CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University, and Professor Zhou Zhe Wei, Executive Vice-President of Shanghai University.

The new partnership will promote groundbreaking research collaborations between the two universities and provide opportunities for staff and student exchanges between the two centres, both of which enjoy strong links with their local creative industries.

The game played by Ms Hyslop at today’s event exemplifies the connections between Abertay and the Scottish computer games industry. Entitled‘Flock’, it is the highly anticipated first release from Dundee-based games company Proper Games Ltd and was designed by employees who are Abertay graduates.

Professor Bernard King CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University said:“We are delighted to sign this new agreement with Shanghai University intended to facilitate the College of Digital Arts becoming one of only two Chinese international partners of our Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education.

He added:“As universities we share a commitment to excellence in education, and to supporting a vibrant and dynamic industry sector that is becoming an increasingly important component of our two countries’ respective economies. Through this exciting new partnership, our institutions will be able to strengthen and broaden the impact we each can make in terms of supporting economic growth.”

Globally, the computer games and interactive entertainment industry is expected to grow from US$ 47 billion today to US$ 68 billion in 2011.

Abertay was the first university in the world to offer undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in computer games technology, more than 10 years ago. Today, it holds two out of only five accreditations granted by Skillset, the UK’s sector Skills Council for the creative industries, and is the only university to be accredited for both computer games technology and computer arts courses.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government announced a£3 million funding package for Abertay to develop its Scottish Centre of Excellence for computer games education– the UK’s first ever university level centre to promote research and teaching in this area.

Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hsylop said:“Helping to position Scotland at the forefront of new technologies is key to ensuring we keep pace with global industries.

“Abertay University already has a formidable reputation as the UK’s leading university in computer games and creative arts and this collaboration with Shanghai University– one of China’s leading research institutions– can only increase its standing.

“The partnership will help students broaden their learning and equip them for a competitive workplace, which is crucial in these tough economic times. This is another fantastic example of Scotland and China working together to improve the lives of all our people.”

The new College of Digital Arts at Shanghai University is already attracting many high calibre candidates and staff and works closely with a large business incubator and technology park established adjacent to the College by the local government. It has significant links with the film and digital media industry in China.

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Media enquiries: Kevin Coe, University of Abertay Dundee, 01382 308452, 07850 9042110

Photo caption: Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government (centre), presides over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Professor Zhou Zhe Wei, Executive Vice-President of Shanghai University (left), and Professor Bernard King CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abertay Dundee (right).

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Shanghai University is a“211 University”– one of the top 100 Chinese universities selected by the Chinese Government to receive special funding. It has around 26,000 students, and its College of Digital Arts is the only one of its kind in China. Staff and students provided digital animation and other creative content for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Globally, the computer games and interactive entertainment industry is expected to grow from US$ 47 billion today to US$ 68 billion in 2011. The creative industries contribute 7.3% to the UK’s GVA (gross value added) and employs 1.1 million people (plus a further 800,000 in creative jobs in other sectors). To set that in context, employment is growing three times as fast as the economy at large, and export sales already exceed those of the pharmaceutical industry - even at this early stage of the development the creative industries.

Flock's chief designer, Andrew Smith, and the level designer, John Pile Junior, are recent Abertay graduates.

Abertay’s‘Dare to be Digital’ computer games design competition for students is the world’s premier contest of its type, and is the route to a BAFTA award open only to winners of the competition.


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