FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PEKING – 10 APRIL 2009
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning will today preside over the signing of an international memorandum of understanding between Abertay University in Dundee and Peking University, in the People’s Republic of China.
Abertay’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Bernard King CBE, will sign the memorandum in Peking with Executive Vice President, Professor Dr. Lin Jianhua, in the presence of the Cabinet Secretary and senior academics from both institutions.
The partnership will see Peking University’s esteemed School of Software and Microelectronics become an international partner of Abertay’s Scottish Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education.
The two institutions will collaborate in terms of curriculum design and development, teaching and learning methods, and enhancing graduate employability.
Peking, China’s highest ranking University, has also indicated its interest in developing Abertay’s international award-winning computer game design competition ‘Dare to be Digital’.
Abertay’s agreement with Peking University will be seen internationally as highly significant and a testament to the international reputation of its computer games and computer arts expertise.
Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland’s reputation for innovation is renowned across the world and it is vital that we continue to position ourselves at the forefront of new technologies. Today’s collaboration – a further example of Scotland and China strengthening links for mutual benefit – represents a major contribution to that drive. By sharing knowledge and expertise we can best ensure students are equipped for fast moving and competitive industries, enabling them to play their part in a more successful Scotland.”
Professor King, said: “We are delighted to welcome Peking University as an International Partner of our Scottish Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education.
“This is further recognition of Abertay’s pre-eminence in computer games and computer arts education, and also for the successful UK games industry with which we enjoy a close working relationship.
“We look forward to building on the strengths of both Abertay and Peking towards continued improvement of graduate employability and superior teaching and learning methods for the benefit of both nations.”
The delegation were joined by four Chinese former students of Peking University who, along with a fifth team member from Abertay University, were prizewinners in the 2008 Dare To Be Digital Competition organised and promoted by Abertay. The Chinese students’ participation was funded by the Scottish Government and the game developed by the team was nominated for a BAFTA earlier this year.
The five graduates have now set up their own company with the four Chinese students working out of Beijing and Abertay graduate Chris Isaacs, working out of Dundee where he is employed by leading games development company Realtime Worlds.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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 income growth and employs 1.1 million people (plus a further 800,000 in creative jobs in other sectors).
Abertay University launched the world’s first undergraduate and masters degrees in computer games technology more than 10 years ago, and today offers a broad portfolio of course including not just computer games but also computer arts and other related subjects. Abertay holds two of only five course accreditations so far awarded by Skillset, the UK sector skills council for the creative industries, and is the only UK university to have accreditation for both computer games technology and computer arts courses.
Peking University is part of China’s ‘Project 985’ – a select group of nine universities who received investment of about £100 million each between 1998 and 2001 to establish themselves as world-class. Peking is also one of China’s ‘211’ group of universities, specially selected by the Chinese Government to receive special funding and extra autonomy.
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. Dare to be Digital has also been supported by world class organisations such as Microsoft, Disney, Turner Television, Electronic Arts, and the BBC amongst others.
Peking University has sent a team to each of the last two Dare to be Digital competitions (2007 and 2008), and each time the Chinese team was one of the winners and BAFTA nominees.