U.S. Rep. McGovern Announces $500,000 Grant for Becker College-hosted Massachusetts Digital Games Institute

Published on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern made his second visit to Becker College, in as many weeks, to announce a $500,000 Federal Grant for the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), hosted on the Worcester campus. The grant is being administered through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center Economic Development Program.

“Mass DiGI is a landmark opportunity for Massachusetts to build on our strengths and pursue long-term high-tech, innovation-economy job growth,” said Rep. McGovern “This federal grant will allow the institute to take the next step in pursuing their vision for a collaborative effort between academia, private industry, and government.  I’m excited to see the economic development impact that MassDiGI will cultivate over the coming years.”

“MassDiGI is the result of a strong partnership our administration helped to develop across academia, government, and the private sector in support of the video and digital game industry, which has great potential for growth in regions across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. “We thank the Obama Administration and Congressman McGovern, a tremendous partner to this process, for this federal funding that will further leverage opportunities to advance entrepreneurship, academic success, and business growth for the state’s digital and video game industry.”

Mass DiGI and Becker College also officially announced memorandums of understanding with six private video game developers. Under the terms of the agreements, the companies will provide resources and personnel in support of the Institute. The companies include: Roadhouse Interactive; Muzzy Lane Software; Turbine; Bare Tree Media; Tencent Boston; Simon & Schuster/Pimsleur Language Programs; and Vivox.

“This is really exciting. Talent is of critical importance to the Commonwealth’s digital games sector and MassDiGI’s work will make certain our graduates are the best in the world,” said Dave McCool, CEO of Muzzy Lane Software.

Lieutenant Governor Murray announced the creation of Mass DiGI, hosted at Becker College, home to top ten nationally-ranked digital game design program, in spring 2011. In the start-up phase of MassDiGI, Becker College will host the institute and will also be the lead provider of resources and services supporting the institute.

Becker College has previously received grants totaling $50,000 from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute, and has invested more than $150,000 in support of the institute to date.

Since the launch in April, MassDiGI has hit several milestones, including presenting to the Massachusetts Creative Economy Council; delivering the keynote at the Greenfield Community College computer game workshop event; named to the shortlist of the UK Trade & Investment Go for the Gold competition; and the establishment of its first Board of Advisors.

Confirmed members of the Board of Advisors include President Robert E. Johnson, Becker College – chair; Ken Surdan, Turbine; Jeff Goodsill, Tencent Boston; Mike Cavaretta, MBBP and MIT EF NE Games SIG; Monty Sharma; President Gail Carberry, Quinsigamond Community College; Dean Karen Oates, WPI; and Gordon Bellamy, executive director, IGDA.

“As chair of the MassDiGI Advisory Board, I am extremely pleased that the EDA selected our application to the University Center Program for funding. The grant resources will go a long way in assisting MassDiGI in providing technology-centered services that support the needs of the digital games industry in Massachusetts in order to create and retain jobs, start businesses and provide greater economic opportunities,” said Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., president of Becker College.

“From the get go, MassDiGI has received incredible backing from government, higher education and industry – and industry involvement is essential to achieving positive outcomes. EDA’s University Center funding provides a solid base from which we can launch our innovative programs,” said Timothy Loew, executive director of MassDiGI.

Written in collaboration with the office of U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern