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Staffordshire University reveals plans to expand its Esports provision with £2.9m investment

Staffordshire University has revealed plans to expand its Esports provision with £2.9m investment in dedicated facilities.

Located on the Stoke-on-Trent campus, the new industry-standard facilities will feature equipment by Panasonic and EVS. The project will be designed, built and installed by broadcast solutions specialist Digital Garage.

A bespoke Esports Arena and a Studio with dedicated broadcast galleries will feature as part of the expansion which caters for the growing number of students studying on the University’s future facing Esports course which has been redeveloped in collaboration with students and industry.

Staffordshire University, which is celebrating 20 years of Computer Games degrees, was the first University in the UK to launch a dedicated Esports degree five years ago.

Esports Course Director Dr Ying-Ying Law leads on several Esports modules and is a founding member of the Esports Research Network.

She said: “The Esports industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace and it is important that we reflect this in our updated course curriculum and that our teaching covers the skills, knowledge and behaviours that will help sector progression.”

“We have carefully considered what our graduates need to succeed in the future and through our revised course curriculum, our students get to examine both the theoretical and practical approaches to production, media, events, communities and management.”

“Consequently, they will gain in-depth subject knowledge and transferable skills that will benefit them in the modern, digital media landscape, and be given exciting opportunities to apply it to projects in their chosen specialism.”

Dr Law has authored a number of academic papers about Esports cultures and has experience of organising competitive gaming tournaments working collaboratively with Digital School House and Fête Smash.

As part of their final year project, students on the Esports course have also been working with respected industry partners including Alpine, a car manufacturer and team currently on the F1 grid, on the Alpine Community Cup Series.

The expansion of Esports in the University’s Beacon building will accommodate flexible teaching space and students will have access to over 80 devices including specialist Esports imaged workstations. Improved networking between rooms and Esports aesthetics and theming including lighting, furniture and artwork from student events will also feature.

Professor Raheel Nawaz, Pro Vice-Chancellor – Digital Transformation at Staffordshire University added, “Creating next-generation environments and experiences on our campuses is central to our 2030 strategic plan.

“Access to the best quality teaching and facilities is vital to ensure the future of the sector remains bright with new trailblazers entering the industry ready to hit the ground running.”

Russell Campion, Associate Professor in the School of Digital, Technologies and Arts at Staffordshire University added, “We are excited to be expanding our Esports footprint in Stoke-on-Trent. This will give students greater access to our facilities, enabling them to immerse themselves in the latest technology and complete more practical based work and extra-curricular activities. We cannot wait for our students to experience the transformed spaces in Beacon.”

The new facilities are set to be completed by Spring 2024. The Esports expansion is the latest in a series of ongoing investments in campus transformation projects across the University’s campuses.

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