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New centre to produce tomorrow’s leaders in games development and design

Posted on 22 November 2013

A collaboration led by the University of York is to receive funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to train the next generation of researchers, designers, developers and entrepreneurs of digital games.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) is a collaboration between the Universities of York and Essex, Goldsmiths College, University of London and 60 representatives from the world-leading UK games industry, networks and user groups.

IGGI postgraduate students will harness the potential of digital games to capture information about human behaviour on an unprecedented scale, providing powerful new scientific tools. They will investigate new research questions arising from the massive growth of digital games, in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and interactivity, as well as creating more fun and profitable games, delivering an internationally distinctive and research-aware UK games industry.

IGGI is one of over 70 new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), designed to train tomorrow’s engineers and scientists, announced by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts today. Total investment across the UK will be £350m.

Peter Cowling, Professor of Computer Science, York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCCSA) at the University of York, leads the consortium. He said: “IGGI will revolutionise the link between research and industry in a vibrant but currently disjointed field, building on mutually productive research and recruitment links through direct engagement between PhD students and the UK games industry.

“IGGI will deliver a four year PhD programme which combines training in practical skills and cutting-edge research topics in big data analytics, software engineering, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, graphics, sound and game design. Students will experience the potential of digital games to capture information about human behaviour and preference on a previously impossible scale, providing powerful new tools for experimental computer science, economics, biology, psychology, sociology and art.”

IGGI has a total budget of £12.5m, which includes investment from the universities involved, partner organisations such as games companies, network organisations and user organisations, and the EPSRC funding announced today. The centre involves a pool of 82 academic supervisors who will train 55 PhD students in five yearly cohorts of 11 per year.

Science Minister David Willetts said: “Scientists and engineers are vital to our economy and society. It is their talent and imagination, as well as their knowledge and skills, that inspire innovation and drive growth across a range of sectors, from manufacturing to financial services.

“I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today. This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race.”

Paul Golby, EPSRC’s Chair, said: “Centres for Doctoral Training have already proved to be a great success and the model is popular with students, business and industry. These new centres will give the country the highly trained scientists and engineers it needs and they will be equipped with skills to move on in their careers. The standard of applications for centres was very high and more could have been funded if we had the capacity.”

Notes to editors:

  • EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI): Lead: Professor Peter Cowling, Department of Computer Science, University of York. Co-investigators: Dr Paul Cairns, Department of Computer Science and Professor Marian Ursu, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York; Professor Atau Tanaka, Professor Simon Colton, Professor William Latham and Dr Jeremy Gow, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths College; Professor Simon Lucas, Professor Richard Bartle, Dr Udo Kruschwitz, School of Computer Science  and Electronic Engineering, University of Essex.   
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  • For more about the University of York’s Department of Computer Science, visit:
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  • Centres for Doctoral Training are funded for four years and include technical and transferrable skills, as well as a research element. The centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues, and future challenges. They also provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, create new working cultures, build relationships between teams in universities and forge lasting links with industry.
  • The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.


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Caron Lett
Press Officer

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