MassDiGI AT Becker College Receives $30,000 Grant to Support Talent And Innovation in the Commonwealths Digital Games Industry

Published on Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Continuing with the launch of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) led by the Patrick-Murray Administration, Becker College, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) announced a $30,000 award for MassDiGI to improve software technologies and increase industry-academic collaboration within the state’s digital games industry. The award was announced at a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of MassDiGI, which will serve as a statewide institute representing a strong partnership between the digital games industry, academia and the public sector to strategically boost economic development and foster job creation.

“Almost a year ago, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Becker College, and our administration came together to foster a strong partnership across academia, government, and the private and non-profit sectors in support of the digital gaming industry in the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.  “We have made significant progress, and as MassDiGI continues with its launch phase, today’s announced funding will help leverage industry-academic collaborations and talent for this growing industry in Massachusetts.”

“Strengthening the competitiveness of the digital games industry will generate new talent, support job creation and promote innovation throughout the Commonwealth,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “Thanks to the leadership of the Patrick-Murray Administration, Massachusetts will continue to bolster the expansion of this evolving industry and enhance the state’s economic vitality.”

The award was made through the MTC’s John Adams Innovation Institute (‘Innovation Institute’), the industry cluster growth division of the MTC, and builds on the state’s previous efforts to capture the economic potential of the Commonwealth’s digital games sector. The award supports two industry-led initiatives: 1) a virtual Rapid Integration Lab (RIL) across industry and academia where engineers, faculty and students can test and demonstrate next-generation game technologies; 2) A “Reverse” Sabbatical (RS) program that would bring industry professionals to partnering Massachusetts schools to collaborate with students and faculty and explore new and innovative game technologies.

The funding builds upon MTC’s initial investment of $20,000, which supported a working group to assess industry support for a virtual integration lab and sabbatical program.

Lieutenant Governor Murray initiated the creation of the institute and called for Becker College, home to a top ten nationally-ranked digital game design program, to collaborate with the MTC’s Innovation Institute on MassDiGI. MassDiGI’s cohesive program builds upon the expert skills of industry, academia and government to advance a common agenda of research, training, internships, technical assistance, public policy and business assistance programs.

“We are excited about the rapid integration lab and the reverse sabbatical programs because these initiatives help to create competitive advantages for Massachusetts companies,” said Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., president of Becker College. “This funding from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, to help underwrite the start-up of these operations, signals a real commitment on the part of the Patrick/Murray administration to grow our economy.”

MassDiGI’s first year of operations is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2012. The Institute will be guided by a 19-member Advisory Board, which includes business, education, and community leaders and is chaired by the president of Becker College.

The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council reports the cluster of existing digital games companies in Massachusetts represents as much as $2 billion in gross annual sales within the Commonwealth’s growing creative economy. More than 75 digital games companies attract and, according to the Entertainment Software Association, employ, directly and indirectly, more than 4,000 people in the Bay State- representing one of the larger digital games clusters in the United States. Additionally, nearly twenty leading Massachusetts higher education institutions offer degree programs or individual courses in digital games and design.

To learn more about MassDiGI and to read the complete plan, please visit www.mass.gov/governor/massdigi or www.becker.edu/massdigi.

Written in collaboration with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

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