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UK Universities, Game Companies Found Centre For Digital Entertainment

UK-based universities have founded the games industry-backed Centre for Digital Entertainment, which landed £6.3 million ($10.45 million) in government funding for doctoral studentships.
UK-based University of Bath and Bournemouth University have founded the Centre for Digital Entertainment, an educational partnership which landed £6.3 million ($10.45 million) in government funding and is backed by game makers including Frontier, Codemasters, and Microsoft. The CDE received the initial funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, a UK government agency, and will use the money toward 50 doctoral studentships in digital entertainment. The funding will stretch eight years beginning in October. The money comes at a time when the UK games industry has been putting pressure on the government to support domestic game development more strongly. UK video game trade body Tiga has said development has gone overseas to countries whose governments offer more video game industry support. But the CDE is more about fostering the games industry's future talent. The group wants to "train the next generation of leaders in the computer animation, games and digital effects industries by offering a unique doctoral program that places researchers directly in companies to work on real projects." The doctoral program itself lasts four years, with 75 percent of a given student's time spent within a participating company working on these projects, the CDE said. According to a CDE press statement, companies that are supporting the CDE include: Aardman Animation; Bizarre Creations; CIS; Codemasters; Framestore; Frontier Developments; Harman Technology; HP Labs; Incredible Sims; Lionhead Studios; The Moving Picture Company; Microsoft; NaturalMotion Ltd; Rare; Relentless Software; Sony Computer Entertainment Europe; Zoe Mode; South West Screen; and Skillset. Andy Lomas, head of computer graphics at major European computer animation and visual effects house Framestore said, "I believe that in the UK we are missing out in the type of close connections between academic research and the animation and visual effects industry that happens in North America. The proposed Doctoral Centre could have very significant impact in addressing this gap."

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