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Bristol Digital Futures Institute and Supermassive Games launch PhD for Black heritage students

A group of four black heritage young adults play video games and laugh

30 June 2021

Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) and the Bafta-winning independent game developer Supermassive Games are offering a fully funded PhD to explore social mobility in gaming and help propel the industry to a more inclusive future.

The studentship is open to graduates of Black heritage (including African, Caribbean or mixed heritage) who have a degree in the social sciences. 

Gaming is one of the most influential industries in the world. According to trade body UKIE, the UK market for video games reached a record £7bn in 2020, and the UK games industry is the biggest in Europe.  

Howeverthere is still a lack of diversity within this sector 

According to research by UKIE “around 10% of people working in games are Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME)”, which is below average for the working age populationand are noticeably less represented in senior positions  

Bristol Digital Futures Institute, at the University of Bristol, has been set up to drive digital innovation for more inclusiveprosperous and sustainable futures.   

Professor Susan Halford, co-director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute, said: 
Gamers are often positioned as passive consumers of tech products created for them, not by them. This project aims to explore how more people can have a stake in the future of the industry. 

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to suggest practical and effective changes within the industry. Known as action research, the PhD student will address problems and trial solutions in real time. 

As well as a regular salary, the student will also benefit from access to independent gaming networks and close contact with the Supermassive studio.  

Pete and Joe Samuels, Directors of Supermassive: 

“The specific events of 2020, that highlighted the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, motivated us to identify how we could make a difference as a business. We’re excited to be funding this Supermassive Games PhD Studentship, and to supporting the researcher throughout their studies.  
Whether you’ve never thought about a PhD or have been planning for this since you were 7 years old, please apply.”

The PhD will be supervised at the University of Bristol by Professor Susan Halford, who has a long track record of collaborative research across the social and engineering sciences.  

Read more about the PhD and find out how to apply.

Find out more about Supermassive Games, and why they developed this oportunity, in their latest blog.    

Further information

To find and more and to apply  

Closing date1st August 2021 

Interviews: 1st September 2021 

Start date: Late September/ early October 

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