Surrey, Warwick and Creative Arts universities secure £1.5m to support regional game-changing innovation activities
Surrey's Guildford Games Cluster and Warwickshire's Silicon Spa are celebrating £1.5 million in funding from Research England, allowing two of the UK's biggest gaming clusters to drive innovation in the sector.
The funding from Research England's Connected Capabilities Fund will establish the Games and Innovation Nexus (GAIN) project. Led by the University of Surrey, in partnership with the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and the University of Warwick, and supported by other key partners, including Surrey County Council, Warwickshire County Council, UK Interactive Entertainment, and Guildford.Games Ltd. GAIN has four key objectives:
- Design and implement a new collaboration model that drives innovation activity between Higher Education and the UK Games industry
- Invest and expand in games infrastructure on campus to establish convening platforms for collaboration
- Be a catalyst for greater regional economic cohesion
- Promote growth, innovation, and sustainability within the games industry.
The GAIN partnership is an exciting opportunity to marry the wealth of science and engineering knowledge and the open innovation ethos found at universities with the fast-paced, entrepreneurial spirit present in the games industry.Professor Annika Bautz, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from the University of Surrey
It's our mission to show that the UK has all the key ingredients needed to boost innovation and regional growth, along with promoting sustainable growth within the gaming industry.
The UK consumer games industry generates over £3 billion a year for the UK GDP and hires almost 50,000 people. It's a UK success story. This project will help connect world-class researchers in the fields of AI, psychology, music, media, literature and languages with the two largest regional games clusters in the UK to collaborate, solve industry challenges and drive growth. It's an exciting initiative which will redefine how universities collaborate with the UK games industry.Dr William Lovegrove, Director of Innovation Strategy at the University of Surrey, who led the consortium bid
Innovation in the games and creative technology sector is fast moving, complex but very exciting. The University of Warwick is fully committed to actively supporting its Creative Cluster, 'Silicon Spa', alongside other regional strengths in immersive technologies, screen, performance and content creation.Rachel Davis, Director of Warwick Enterprise at the University of Warwick
The GAIN project will enable a step change in how we can help knowledge exchange between universities and businesses, laying new foundations for sustainable approaches. Being able to do this in partnership with Surrey and UCA will be hugely beneficial.
This collaboration will stimulate our research communities, invigorate innovation in CreaTech, and champion sustainable expansion within the gaming sector. The fusion of academia and the gaming industry sets this partnership apart and establishes a new standard for the creative sector.Dr Amer Alwarea, Acting Director of Research and Innovation at the University for the Creative Arts
The games industry is one of Surrey's real success stories, showcasing our county and its talented workforce on a global stage.Cllr Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Economic Growth
This funding has the potential to take this growing, innovative sector to new heights, creating high-quality jobs and generating inward investment into our communities - both of which would be good news for our residents.
The video games industry is at the forefront of innovation and research and development. As one of the fastest-growing creative sectors in the UK, video game companies are always pushing the boundaries of new technological developments, enhancing the experience for players across the world. More and more, we are now seeing these creative technologies overspill into a broad range of other sectors, including manufacturing, financial services, medicine, as well as other creative industries.Sam Collins, Co-CEO, Ukie
The funding awarded to this unique collaboration between the Universities of Surrey, Warwick and the Creative Arts to develop a games innovation network, will continue to build on this success, whilst also powering local innovation and unlocking local economic growth.
Notes to editors
- Professor Annika Bautz and Dr William Lovegrove are available for interview upon request.
- The University of Surrey is an economic pillar in the South-East region, renowned for its research and technological excellence and commitment to societal impact. It is home to world-renowned research hubs such as the Surrey Institute for People-Centred AI, the 5G/6G Innovation Centre, and the Academy for Blockchain and Metaverse Applications – all spearheading GAIN's efforts in AI, blockchain, NFTs, and beyond.
- The University of Warwick has carved out a name for itself in fostering creativity, business partnerships, and entrepreneurship across a wide array of disciplines. Its Warwick Manufacturing Group and Warwick Business School stand as pillars of academic excellence, connecting with key sectors like manufacturing, engineering, health, and business. Warwick Innovations boasts an impressive portfolio, with over 1500 innovations, 100+ spinouts, and £120m in venture capital investment. The Warwick Innovation District (WID), a multidisciplinary innovation ecosystem, further enriches the university's credentials.
- UCA brings a specialised focus on creative arts, technologies, and business to the GAIN project. Recognised for its high-quality research and industry partnerships with leading organisations such as the BBC and VIVE, UCA stands as a beacon of creative innovation. It has gained international acclaim for its game design programmes and boasts state-of-the-art facilities in game design and development, immersive technologies, and creative robotics. The UCA Innovation Hub, supported by an AHRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) from 2022–25, prioritises games incubation as a key area of focus.
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