Abertay University unveils £5.5m facility to bolster video games education
Abertay University recently opened its School of Design and Informatics worth £5.5 million that will serve as a fully-equipped facility for cybersecurity and video games education and development to bolster Scotland’s prominence in the industry.
Officially launched by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work Derek Mackay in Dundee, the School of Design and Informatics has been hailed as an important investment in Scotland’s future and will be a strategic addition to Abertay’s current reputation as Europe’s top-ranked university for video games education.
The teaching and research facility will be home to an Emergent Technology Centre (ETC), which will feature a development studio for experimental games design and hacking projects; a visual design studio; a usability lab with eye-tracking equipment; specialist cameras and an observation room; and an XR (Extended Reality) lab for experimentation with room-scale Virtual Reality, motion tracking and multi-user Augmented/Mixed Reality Projects.
This facility will expand the university’s long-standing relationship with Sony Interactive Entertainment with the addition of Playstation development tools to be used within the labs.
A teaching and study zone for Masters students in Games Development has also been included to provide a first-class learning environment to meet demands as the university’s popularity among international students from countries such as China, North America and India increases.
The school’s new facilities will allow staff and students to have access to the latest rapid manufacturing technologies and innovative mobile Internet of Things (IoT) services to engage with product prototyping in partnership with experimental 5G testbed initiatives.
A new academic office space was also created for the university’s team of internationally-leading teaching staff, in addition to a specially commissioned mural by artist Ursula Cheng.
The artwork inspired a commissioned game developed by experts Dr Niall Moody, Dr Lynn Love, Robbin Griffiths, and Gerry High to open the space.
The facility was mostly funded by the university itself. The majority of funds were taken out from the university’s capital budget while a Scottish Funding Council interest-free loan contributed towards sustainable building features including solar roof panels.
The opening of the new School of Design and Informatics will add to the region of Dundee’s tech cluster, with Abertay already paving the way with two large-scale academia-industry research projects, the £11.5 million InGAME (Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise) R&D project and the £11.7 million cyberQuarter project funded through the Tay Cities Deal.
“This incredible new space indicates the strength of Abertay’s commitment to excellence in the tech sector, providing a first-rate learning environment for our students and top-class research space for our academics,” said Abertay University Dean of the School of Design and Informatics Professor Gregor White.
“Our distinguished track record in games and cyber education means we attract some of the world’s best student and academic talent so, as an institution, it’s important we stay right on the cusp of new and emerging technologies. This investment will allow us to do just that.”
“Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics, and in particular, its Emergent Technology Centre represents an important investment in Scotland’s future. The new state-of-the-art facilities will help to develop talent in the video games and cybersecurity sectors, as well as attract the best talent from around the world,” added Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work Derek Mackay.
“The video games and cybersecurity industries are two international sectors which have enormous potential for growth so it is great to see universities like Abertay playing a key role and ensuring Scotland is able to take full advantage of that.”
“Abertay’s name is synonymous with excellence in international video games education and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with the University as its School of Design and Informatics enters this exciting new phase,” said Sony Interactive Entertainment Senior Academic Development Manager Luke Savage.
Abertay University has been at the forefront of the rapidly-growing video game industry ever since its launch of the world’s first videogames degree in 1997.
Earlier this year, the university was ranked the number one university in Europe for undergraduate videogames degrees by the Princeton Review for the fifth consecutive year. Abertay is also within the global top 10 at postgraduate level.