Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created in the UK’s computer games industry, in new and existing businesses, following the launch today of a novel multi-million pound investment project to be run by Abertay University.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey launched the project– which will provide a substantial economic boost in Dundee and across the UK– at the Develop Conference in Brighton, an annual gathering of thousands of UK game developers.
The first phase of the£5 million project is a£2 million fund to invest in new computer games prototypes, creating new businesses and giving fledgling companies the chance to attract further investment by developing their intellectual property (IP).
Describing Abertay as“a world-class university”, Mr Vaizey said: "I am delighted this morning to launch formally the new£2 million fund to support games IP run by Abertay University, but open to applications from any eligible company located in the UK.
"This fund is a direct response to what many developers tell us is needed. Working with Skillset, the fund will also ensure talented students are able to gain valuable work experience with the industry.”
He added: "Whilst the focus is on small companies, larger companies can also benefit by joining as a commissioning partner. This will, we hope, help build new relationships and encourage cross-platform growth."
Grants of up to£25,000 will be available to support the development of fully-working prototypes. Commercialisation and project management support will also be provided from Abertay’s business and computer games experts, giving each successful applicant the best chance of establishing or developing a thriving business.
Talented students and graduates will also gain important work experience opportunities on project teams, further developing the successful Abertay model of small teams working in the same studio environment as computer games companies. This studio space is being significantly expanded under the new project.
This studio-based way of working was pioneered by the Dare to be Digital computer games competition, and further developed in industry-driven courses such as the new Professional Masters in Computer Games Development.
Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said:“Supporting the creation and success of new, small businesses is crucial to the future growth of this industry, and to the broader health of the UK economy.
“This multi-million pound investment project will create jobs and businesses, allowing talented games developers and digital artists the opportunity to turn their innovative ideas into complete, working prototypes they can showcase to investors.”
He added:“By giving competitive grants to the best projects, and offering a wide range of business support to both new and existing companies, we are fuelling the future growth of this creative sector.
“This funding creates a unique win-win situation: jobs and businesses are created, students and graduates get real world work experience, and partners get high quality games and products to invest in.”
This new project brings the recent public investment in computer games education and development at Abertay University to£8 million, building on the major£3 million Scottish Government investment in Abertay University’s Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education, which opened last year and is a UK first.
By developing a‘pipeline’ for the creation of new intellectual property, the project is expected to further stimulate the economy by attracting private sector investment.
This will further boost the high level of value-for-money from the initial public investment, increasing the‘multiplier effect’ in generating new business and supporting economic growth within the computer games and digital media sectors.
Financial support for the new project came from the UK Government (£2.5 million), the European Regional Development Fund (£1 million) and the University of Abertay Dundee (£1.5 million).
Further information– including details of how to apply– are available on the Abertay University website at http://www.abertay.ac.uk/business/support
For media enquiries and high resolution images of games designed at Abertay, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Officer)– T: 01382 308935 M: 07837 250284 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The project aims to create 30 new companies, provide important support to another 80 existing smaller businesses, and create up to 400 new jobs. An additional 300 students, graduates and professionals will have their skills developed through working on successfully funded projects.
This project is funded by ERDF and government funding administered by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and based at Abertay University. It is associated with further UK-focused business support funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and delivered in partnership with Vision+Media and based at MediaCityUK.