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Tiga's Download 03 comments

University/business relationships need strengthening.

Tiga published a report today showing that business-university connections in the game industry are wide ranging but that these relationships need to be developed further in order to enhance the competitiveness of the UK games industry. Tiga made the comments in Download 03 (January 2009), its latest policy paper.

Download 03 shows that business-university relationships in the games industry take a variety of forms.

Course development: Ubisoft has been working with Teeside University to enhance the content of their games design and games art courses. Guest lecturing: businesses including Kuju (Zoe Mode), Team 17, Realtime Worlds, Natural Motion, SCEE, Black Company Studios and Eutechnyx give lectures and master classes at universities. Mentoring: SCEE and Realtime Worlds provide mentoring for the University of Abertay’s Dare to be Digital programme. Work placements: Monumental provides students at Derby University with work placement opportunities. Recruitment: studios including Atomic Planet, Eutechnyx and Ubisoft, work with Sunderland and Northumbria universities on recruitment events. Research: a number of studios collaborate with universities on research programmes, for example, Emote Games work with Imperial College London in this way.

To strengthen business-university relationships in the games industry, Tiga will:

promote knowledge transfer between games developers and higher educational establishments through the Tiga Technology Group (TTG); examine models of industry-academia collaboration in other sectors and investigate how other industries manage innovation to see if there are models that the games industry can adopt; and consider using the planned Tiga-Nesta portal on the Tiga website to share information between the industry and universities about research needs, research projects and sources of funding available for research.

Tiga also renewed its call for the establishment of a Government funded Tiga managed Games-Education Fund. The Fund could be deployed to:

promote industrial secondments by funding the placement of lecturers in games businesses; fund research fellowships by enabling lecturers to concentrate on research activities rather than administrative and teaching responsibilities for between a term and an academic year; enable more games businesses to engage in education outreach and knowledge transfer with universities (for example, small games businesses could be recompensed for providing guest lecturers at universities); make awards to individual lecturers and their universities for excellence in teaching, judged on their commitment to teaching and other actions which ensure the output of first class quality graduates for the games industry; and fund a small number of work and research awards so that Msc and PhD students can work and study at the same time.

Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said:

“If the UK games development sector is to maintain a competitive advantage in an intensely competitive global market, then developers must pursue two objectives: exploit universities’ research activities in areas such as artificial intelligence and work with them to produce graduates of the highest quality.

“Universities should work through Tiga to highlight areas where they would like to collaborate with games developers and games businesses. Tiga and universities can also work together to improve the content of higher education courses. Universities such as Abertay, Brighton, Derby, Portsmouth and Teeside have joined Tiga to develop strong links with the games industry, to the benefit of their students and of the games development sector.

“Tiga will continue to strengthen the relationship between the video games industry and higher education in order to help make the UK the best place in the world to do games business.”


Notes to editors:

1. Tiga is the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and university departments amongst our membership.

2. Tiga's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This

3. means that Tiga members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

For further information about Tiga, please contact: Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga CEO: telephone: 0845 0941095; mobile: 07875 939643; or: email: richard.wilson@tiga.org. Or contact Steff Rickwood, Tiga’s Project Manager. Telephone: 0845 0941095; email: steff.rickwood@tiga.org

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