A £9m gaming research and development centre is to be established in Dundee. The Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise (InGAME) project will support product, service, and experience innovation across the industry.

With funding from he Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Creative Industries Clusters programme and the Scottish Funding Council, the project will be led by Abertay University, in partnership with the Dundee and St Andrews universities.

Games industry partners include 4J Studios, All4Games, BBC, Beano Studios, Biome Collective, DeltaDNA, Microsoft, Outplay Entertainment and Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe. Business and cluster development will be supported by Creative Dundee, Creative Scotland, Elevator UK, Interface, Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise, TIGA, UK Interactive Entertainment, and V&A Dundee.

“This is a really significant investment for the Dundee games industry which will have benefits for studios across the UK,” said Professor Gregor White, head of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics and the architect of InGAME.

“As well as pushing forward new technological innovations, we will be seeking to find innovative solutions to some of the challenges faced by games companies, including the management of financial and sustainability risks associated with developing original material,” he said.

InGAME will take a collaborative approach, with artists, designers, and creative writers co-located with technologists and business specialists. SME games studios will have access to the partners’ expertise, engaging in creative experimentation, utilising new and emerging games technologies, exploring new audiences, and forming interdisciplinary working relationships.

Dundee has a history of achieving great things when mixing together academia, industry and enterprise, and this project will act as a catalyst for further development at this exciting time for the city – Chris van der Kuyl.

With the ability to rapidly prototype and test ideas, InGAME will also develop experimental processes for the generation of original creative content, while promoting the diversification of new products and markets.

Business modelling, user analytics and service design will all be embedded within the project, which seeks to promote significant growth, increased sustainability and intensification of the Dundee games cluster. InGAME will also provide industry experience for students from all three universities as they work on business-led briefs.

The project will involve academic researchers, students, industry experts and business leaders, and is expected to boost the already successful Dundee cluster, which is characterised by a high number of micro-SMEs creating content for mobile, tablet and PC gaming platforms, as well as larger SME’s with more established product portfolios.

Professor James Livesey, Dean of the School of Humanities at Dundee University, said: “This project builds on the world-class expertise in the local universities and will create outstanding opportunities for our students to work with some of the biggest names in the computer games and entertainment industry. It will also be a model for interaction between academia and the creative industries.”

Professor Paul Hibbert, University of St Andrews Vice-Principal Education, added: “InGame is a groundbreaking multi-partner award that will facilitate knowledge transfer and develop a better understanding of the growth bottlenecks confronting this exciting sector. The Institute for Capitalising on Creativity in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews is proud to partner Abertay and Dundee universities on this important and transformative project.

Chairman of 4J studios Chris van der Kuyl said: “We are delighted to be involved in the InGAME partnership which will undoubtedly drive forward innovation in the video games sector, not only in the Dundee games cluster but across the UK. Dundee has a history of achieving great things when mixing together academia, industry and enterprise, and this project will act as a catalyst for further development at this exciting time for the city.”

InGAME is one of nine AHRC Creative Clusters announced across the UK, with the University of Edinburgh’s data innovation partnership leading the only other Scotland-based project.