Students Staff

22 November 2013

New centre at Essex to produce tomorrow’s leaders in computer games industry

Colchester Campus

Professor Simon Lucas with students

Professor Simon Lucas with Diego Perez Liebana and Spyridon Samothrakis

 A collaboration involving Essex will train the next generation of researchers, designers and developers of digital games.

Scientists from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex will team up with colleagues at the universities of York and Goldsmiths to develop a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI).

Working closely with 60 representatives from the world-leading UK games industry, the Centre will train 55 PhD students to become the next generation of researchers, designers, developers, leaders and entrepreneurs in the digital games industry.

By harnessing the potential of digital games to mimic human behaviour on an unprecedented scale, the Centre’s students will aim to create more fun and profitable games and deliver an internationally-distinctive and research-aware UK games industry.

The £12.5 million project will be led at Essex by Professor Simon Lucas, who heads-up the Game Intelligence Group at Essex and has expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and games.

“This is great news for Essex as it builds on the University’s excellence in research and teaching in games,” said Professor Lucas. “Games and game AI are already important areas of research and development that have a major impact on society and on the economies of the leading game development countries, including the UK. This CDT will be instrumental in taking us to the next level of intelligent games and the application of those, and will change the shape of the UK games industry to make it an even more internationally successful.”

Executive Dean of the Faculty for Science and Health at Essex, Professor Graham Underwood, added: “This successful bid is clear recognition of the internationally-competitive research carried out in intelligent games at Essex and of the quality of provision of postgraduate training in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. This is excellent news for the School, Faculty and University.”

The IGGI Centre was one of 72 new Centres announced today by the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, as part of a £350 million fund to train over 3,500 postgraduate students in engineering and physical sciences. The funding – the UK’s largest investment in postgraduate training in engineering and physical sciences – is spread across 24 UK universities and has been allocated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Announcing the new CDTs, Mr Willetts said: “Scientists and engineers are vital to our economy and society. It is their talent and imagination, as well as their knowledge and skills that inspire innovation and drive growth across a range of sectors, from manufacturing to financial services.

“I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today. This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race.”

Paul Golby, EPSRC’s Chair, said: “Centres for Doctoral Training have already proved to be a great success and the model is popular with students, business and industry. These new centres will give the country the highly-trained scientists and engineers it needs and they will be equipped with skills to move on in their careers. The standard of applications for Centres was very high and more could have been funded if we had the capacity.”


Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 872400 or email: comms@

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