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Victoria initiative supports growth in digital industries

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Media release: Victoria initiative supports growth in screen and digital industries
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 23:49:59 +0000
From: Guy Randall

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

MEDIA RELEASE

18 August 2011

Victoria initiative supports growth in screen and digital industries

Victoria University has unveiled plans for a leading-edge study programme that will support innovation and growth in Wellington’s internationally recognised entertainment and digital technologies industries.

From 2012, Victoria will offer a Computer Graphics programme that is unique in Australasia in the way it blends computer science and design. Other courses available at tertiary level focus on one or other of the two disciplines.

Victoria’s Computer Graphics subject will be a course option for Masters level students in both the School of Design and the School of Engineering and Computer Science, with the computer science and design components weighted differently for the two degrees.

Professor John Hine, Dean of Victoria’s School of Engineering, says the cross-disciplinary nature of the programme is one aspect of what makes it unique.

“The other is the involvement of local industry. We have worked very closely with leading companies in the digital industries sectors, particularly Weta Digital, Sidhe Interactive and Unlimited Realities, to develop a course that is relevant and will produce graduates with the skills the sector needs.”

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Professor Hine says the relationship with local industry will be continued through sponsored scholarships—with Weta already having confirmed one PhD scholarship—consultation, guest lectures and internship opportunities.

“Weta in particular has a lot of experts visiting its research and development facility in Wellington and we hope to get some of them along to teach our students.”

The long term goal is to build in-depth capability at Victoria to support New Zealand’s digital industries. That will include specialist programmes at Master’s level, supervision for PhD study and a research programme that can deliver new technologies and skills to industry.

“The initiative will lead to a range of new career opportunities in the region’s internationally acknowledged digital creative sector, making Wellington and Victoria University a logical location to study this exciting specialisation.”

As part of its support for growing New Zealand’s high tech creative sector, the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) has contributed $500,000 towards the cost of establishing the programme.

Murray Bain, Chief Executive of the MSI, says the Ministry is keen to support and encourage industry engagement with universities.

“This initiative is a textbook example of the importance of business-research links for our economic future. It will add to the impressive strength of Wellington’s digital media industry, providing more jobs for New Zealanders and export earnings.”

Grow Wellington is also contributing to the programme. Sven Pannell, who manages the organisation’s screen and digital centre of excellence, says in addition to building the capability of individuals the industry, the research programme will create intellectual property that will help keep existing companies at the cutting edge and lead to the emergence of exciting new commercial opportunities.

Professor Hine says the launch of the Computer Graphics programme is an important milestone for Victoria.

“We are 100 per cent behind the current push to improve technology transfer between universities and industry. This programme is an excellent example of how the two can work together to develop study options that are both academically challenging and relevant.”

Master’s level papers in Computer Graphics will be offered at Victoria from next year although Professor Hine says it is likely to be 2013 before there is a full class of students who have completed the pre requisite courses—which are 300 level papers in both Computer Science and Media Design.

He says the new subject will appeal to students with ability in mathematics, computer programming and design.


ends

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