The University of Abertay in Dundee is something of an icon in the interactive world. It has gained an enviable reputation over the last several years. Not just in Scotland, or even the UK, but globally. Abertay is producing talented graduates with the skills required within a rapidly evolving industry. It also works closely nearly all of the local development studios. Plus, Abertay has done more than almost any other institution in the UK as far as promoting new talent celebrating creativity, with its involvement in the Dare to be Digital competition, Dare ProtoPlay event and numerous games workshops for 11-16 year olds.
Abertay is, in short, a very useful place to have on your doorstep.
However, the future of Abertay is now in doubt. Debate erupted last week, following a Scottish Government white paper exploring the opportunities for merging universities where it makes ‘financial and academic sense to do so’. This speculated on the possibility of Dundee University and the University of Abertay merging into a single institution. Abertay also received a request for the university to outline and justify its role.
Scottishgames.net can exclusively reveal that both Abertay and Dundee University have now received letters from the government asking them to start exploring how a potential merger would work.
What this would mean for Abertay’s position as a world leader in the videogames sector, is open for debate. Given the university’s reputation as a world leader within the interactive and digital media markets, it would be ridiculous to imagine any merged university taking focus away from an industry which the Scottish and UK governments are recognising as a key driver for the future prosperity of the country.
Yet, within a larger organisation, the creativity, flexibility, expertise and passion which Abertay has devoted to its games-related courses, could be diluted, ignored or simply rolled into a larger, less focused area of education.
None of which would help the games industry. Locally, nationally or globally.