Published 4 February 2019

IGGI wins major UK funding to become world-leading centre for games research

The Centre for Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) has been awarded funding for a second phase of PhD studentships, making it the largest doctoral programme in games research worldwide. As part of a UK-wide £446 million investment in doctoral training by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), announced today at the London Stock Exchange, the IGGI Centre for Doctoral Training will be able to fund more than 60 new PhDs at the University of York and Queen Mary, University of London in the coming years.

This extends the existing IGGI Centre for Doctoral Training collaboration between the Universities of York, Essex, Queen Mary, and Goldsmiths, University of London as well as more than 80 partner organisations in industry and society. These include the BBC, British Games Institute, Digital Catapult, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Research, and Women in Games, many of whom joined to support the bid for IGGI’s funding. Among the total of 75 Centres for Doctoral Training in engineering and physical sciences receiving funding today, IGGI is the only centre focused on games research. The funding is granted by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which is part of UKRI.

Professor Peter Cowling, the principal investigator of IGGI, says: “IGGI is the first and only Centre for Doctoral Training for games research in the UK and we are thrilled that we can continue to build upon our strong international reputation of innovation and substantial real-world scientific impact.” Noirin Carmody, Chair of UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), adds: “The UK games industry is a global success story and major contributor to our country’s economy. To sustain their competitive edge, UK games companies are hungry for the kind of research and highly skilled graduates IGGI provides.” Professor Simon Lucas, the IGGI lead at Queen Mary comments: “This is excellent news both for the UK games industry and for academic research in the vibrant and rapidly growing area of games and game AI. Having sites in York and London is ideal for working with a wide range of partners including the Alan Turing Institute.”

Since 2014, IGGI has recruited and trained more than 50 PhD students working with companies and organisations including Sony Interactive Entertainment, Google DeepMind, BT and Sue Ryder to push new game interfaces, explore the creative potential of deep learning, or use games to improve the wellbeing of people with disabilities. The new funding will enable IGGI to work with existing and new partners to unlock the full social, scientific, and economic potential of games in areas like game artificial intelligence, Esports, augmented creativity, and applied games for research and mental health.

The next phase of IGGI will be officially launched at the annual IGGI conference in York September 11-12, 2019.

To learn more about IGGI, visit the website at http://www.iggi.org.uk

To join the annual IGGI conference, sign up at https://iggi-2019-conference.eventbrite.co.uk