Abertay University: Scottish SMEs working in the games and immersive sector will compete for £35K to develop more inclusive content

Abertay-led InGAME is running a new open innovation competition for Scottish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the games and immersive sector. The competition will fund the winning SME to join the Inclusive Design Accelerator, where it will develop and implement inclusive design practices that widen its audience by making experiences more accessible and enjoyable for people living with disabilities.

The Inclusive Design for Immersive Experiences competition aims to accelerate the adoption and evolution of inclusive innovation and design within games and other immersive experiences. It is a co-production between InGAME, StoryFutures Academy and leading inclusive design and innovation agency, Open Inclusion. Applications close on 14 March 2022.

Up to five Scottish SMEs will be selected – and funded – to participate in a four-day Inclusive Innovation Lab. This will rapidly upskill them in the practice of inclusive design and innovation. After pitching, one Scottish SME will be chosen as the winner and will receive £35,000 to enter the Inclusive Design Accelerator. This eight-week programme will support the company to embed inclusive design and innovation practices within existing and/or near-market IP. The winner will also receive mentorship support from Open Inclusion with on-demand R&D expertise from the world-class team at InGAME.

In the UK alone, over 1 in 5 people have a disability. The ‘purple pound’ – the spending power of disabled people – is estimated to be worth over £274 billion but businesses lose approximately £2 billion a month by overlooking the needs of disabled people. The Inclusive Design for Immersive Experiences Challenge aims to change this for immersive content creators.

Dr Chris Lowthorpe, Head of Collaborative R&D at InGAME, said:

“A growing number of UK game and immersive content creators want to widen their audience and market by creating more open and accessible experiences. But most lack the specific competencies to do so. This competition will empower participating SMEs to develop the required inclusive design and innovation knowledge, skills and networks.
“Many people living with disabilities are excluded from fully enjoying immersive experiences. We want this competition to raise awareness of the importance of inclusive design and innovation, ultimately delivering more accessible immersive experiences that are fun and engaging for everyone.”

The InGAME Creative R&D Partnership

InGAME is a £11.5 million research and development centre based in the heart of the Dundee video games cluster. Led by Abertay University, in partnership with the University of Dundee, the University of St Andrews and local and international partners, InGAME delivers innovative research and offers R&D support and services to games companies. A part of the Creative Industries Cluster Programme, InGAME is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and part of the Industrial Strategy. The partnership also receives significant funding from the Scottish Funding Council.

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