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Boost for gaming sector with £2.4 million GAIN programme

Businesses working within the gaming sector in Surrey are being encouraged to get involved with a new £2.3 million programme to tackle challenges in the industry.

The Games and Innovation Nexus (GAIN) will focus on ways to promote growth and innovation in this growing sector.

Already more than 60 companies and 3,000 developers work within the gaming sector in Guildford, earning the town the title of “the Hollywood of Gaming”.

Among the priorities for GAIN will be developing infrastructure for the sector to enable greater collaboration, with the aim of ensuring Surrey continues to be a world leader in this creative sector.

The catalyst for the project is £1.5 million of funding from Research England aimed at allowing two of the UK’s biggest gaming clusters – Guildford and Leamington in Warwickshire – to drive innovation in the sector.

If you’re working in or interested in gaming, the GAIN project team are keen to hear more about your industry challenges, opportunities and ideas for research collaboration.

Sign up here.

GAIN launch

GAIN was officially launched at the Guildford Games Festival in February.

The project will look to:

  • Connect university researchers with games companies with challenges to solve
  • Connect the Guildford and Leamington games clusters
  • Invest in an innovation ecosystem, including a new Games Innovation Zone at the University of Surrey; and a town centre incubation centre at UCA Farnham that support games innovation commercialisation.

As part of the launch, Caroline Fleming, Director Surrey Innovation District, University of Surrey, chaired a panel session titled ‘Connecting Capabilities, Research to Revenue’ involving industry and academic representatives.

The prestigious panel comprised of Charity Joy from Criterion Games, which is part of the gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA); Steve Cuss of The GamePlan Consultancy; Andrew Bossom from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and the University of Surrey’s Dr Stephen Mooney.

Together, the industry experts explored the relationship between universities and the games industry, delving into issues around people and skills, research, and the value of connections and networks.

Caroline Fleming, Director Surrey Innovation District, University of Surrey, said: “The University of Surrey is particularly excited to develop our innovation collaboration with Guildford’s vibrant and exciting games cluster.

“GAIN is designed to tackle the challenge of development of a new diversified innovation model that bridges across academic research and the IP sensitive Games industry, creating opportunity for regional economic growth and positive societal impact.

“I would like to thank the Guildford Games Committee, for inviting us to host this session, Surrey County Council for their ongoing support for the games sector in our region, and Research England, for recognising the value of our regional games cluster and committing £1.5m to funding it.”

Why does GAIN matter?

Dr William Lovegrove, Director of Innovation Strategy at the University of Surrey, who led the consortium bid, said: “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 Amer Alwarea, Acting Director of Research and Innovation at the University for the Creative Arts, said: “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.”

Cllr Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Economic Growth, said: “The games industry is one of Surrey’s real success stories, showcasing our county and its talented workforce on a global stage.

“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.”

For more details visit:

GAIN funding