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Dare to be Digital spreads its international wings and invites 2 Scottish student ambassadors

NEWS RELEASE

26 March 2007

Dare to be Digital 2007 is going multinational and multicultural, thanks to a sponsorship deal with the Scottish Executive.

Funding from the Executive will enable a team of Indian students and another of Chinese students to compete in the computer games design competition organised by the University of Abertay Dundee.

The Scottish Executive support will also enable Dare to be Digital's organisers to add a Scottish student to each team of four.

Each Scottish student will act on the role as an international ambassador. He or she will visit the nominated team in their home country before travelling to Dundee together in June for the start of the 10-week contest.

As well as adding their programming and creative skills to the mix, the Scottish students will be able to help their Indian or Chinese counterparts acclimatise to Scotland.

Each team will also have a 'buddy' - someone of their own nationality who has been living and working in Scotland for some time - to help them settle in and integrate with the UK contestants.

Recruitment activities have already been started both in India and China with the help from the British Council. Scottish students, who are interested in this challenging role, please visit DaretobeDigital.com for details.

In previous years, Dare to be Digital has sometimes welcomed teams from outside the UK and has also included individual overseas students in Scottish and UK teams. The new arrangement for 2007 gives a unique chance for Scottish studentS to experience working in a completely different culture.

Tom McCabe, Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform said:

"The Executive has no hesitation in supporting this programme for the third consecutive year. We are welcoming the brightest scientific minds from China and India to Scotland through the Dare to be Digital programme.

"The programme brings together Chinese, Indian and UK students and provides them with the opportunity to use their talents and tap into the computer games industry. Scotland has already had significant breakthroughs in computer sciences and this scheme will continue to encourage further innovation.

"Dare to be Digital showcases our own home grown talent as well as promoting Scotland as a great place for motivated and talented people to live, work and study to overseas students."

The Scottish Executive has joined an impressive list of sponsors for Dare to be Digital 2007, including Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Dundee City Council, the Scottish Executive, NCR, Electronic Arts, AMD, Denki, The Digital Hub in Dublin and Belfast City Council with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment's Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme.

Paul Durrant, Dare to be Digital project director, commented: "This excellent support from the Scottish Executive is going to add a wider cultural and international dimension to the 2007 contest. It is part of our drive to expand Dare to be Digital globally and position the competition as an internationally recognised model for the development and showcasing of innovation and young talent in computer games production."

Dare to be Digital has established an enviable reputation for producing high-level talent, with many contestants going on to set up their own development companies or being snapped up by major international games companies such as Lionhead, Microsoft and Electronic Arts.

Yuan Yao, a contestant in last year's event, now works for Electronic Arts in Shanghai. He said: "Dare to be Digital has given me an excellent opportunity to work in the UK with UK students and industry experts with international level. The participation also gave me a chance to meet some of the big players and now I am happy to be working for Electronic Arts Shanghai. I will recommend any Chinese games talent to take part in Dare. It is once in a lifetime experience!"

Richard Leinfellner, Electronic Arts' Vice-President for Outsourcing, commented: "The Dare model rewards creativity and teamwork as well as risk taking. It is the gold standard for project based competitive team work."

Dare to be Digital 2007 launched its first call for entries last month. The organisers are planning for 60 to 80 or more talented young game developers from across the UK and Ireland to take part this year - almost twice as many as in 2006.

This year, for the first time, Dare to be Digital will be hosted in more than one location across the British Isles. The Indian and Chinese teams will join four teams from Scotland based at Abertay University for the first nine weeks of the competition.

Dare to be Digital 2007 will also feature a completely new element in the competition: Dare ProtoPlay, a three-day showcase of all the teams' work, scheduled to take place just before the Awards Ceremony. Dare ProtoPlay will enable the general public and industry experts to not only play the games, but also vote for them as well. In addition to showcasing the games, Dare ProtoPlay will play a big role in games education, helping parents and children understand the "behind-the-scene" features in games creation. They also have the chance to take part in the games creation process itself.

(Ends)

NOTES FOR EDITORS

More information: www.daretobedigital.com

www.abertay.ac.uk

Media enquiries: Kevin Coe

T: 01382 308223 M: 07850 904110

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