Ukie announces new Board members and two new initiatives for the UK games sector

Ukie announces new Board members and two new initiatives for the UK games sector

Friday 26th September 2014 - London, United Kingdom – Businesses of all sizes make up new Ukie Board of Directors, trade body Ukie announces at the EGX expo, with 25% female representation. Ukie also formally announces two new initiatives, including the Digital Schoolhouse Programme to revolutionise the teaching of programming in schools

Ukie hosted its AGM at EGX once more and announces its 10 newly-elected Board members. The Board of Directors is now made up of 25% women for the first time ever in the trade body’s history.

The Ukie Board represents the broad diversity of the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry, with the new publishers and developers joining the existing Board members. Ten seats opened up and the following individuals now join the Board of Directors to shape Ukie’s strategy and activity over the next two years:

Ella Romanos, Strike Gamelabs
Fergal Gara, Sony Computer Entertainment
Helana Santos, Modern Dream
Ian Livingstone, Playmob
Kate Booth, Preloaded
Keith Ramsdale, Electronic Arts
Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive
Noirin Carmody, Revolution Software
Rob Cooper, Ubisoft
Stuart Dinsey, Curve Studios 

Ukie Chairman Andy Payne added “It is a huge honour to lead such a talented, diverse and creative board at Ukie. Each year competition for places increases and our democratic process has seen more people putting themselves forward for election and more members voting this year than ever before. This proves that Ukie represents all game makers and publishers across all formats and platforms and means we can speak with one voice representing the games industry to government, media, policy makers and the public in the UK.”

Ukie also announced two major new projects – the Digital Schoolhouse Programme and the Nesta Games Cluster Map.

Following on from the success of the Next Gen Skills Campaign - spearheaded by Ukie Vice Chair and BIS Creative Industries Champion Ian Livingstone CBE - Ukie said the Digital Schoolhouse programme, funded by the Mayor of London’s Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF), will establish the new Computing Curriculum in schools and revolutionise teaching of the subject across London.

Ukie, Digital Schoolhouse and education subject association Computing at School have recruited 10 London secondary schools to grow local networks of primary teachers so children can learn the subject creatively, from an early age.

In the first partnership of its kind in the UK, the programme links educators with games companies and education-tech social enterprises to create exciting and inspirational lessons around creative computational thinking, 3D animation, 3D printing, hardware and engineering.

By 2015 it aims to have worked with at least 100 primary schools and reached thousands of children, as well as equipping a new generation of educators to teach 21st century skills. Ukie hopes to expand the project nationwide over the next few years.

The second key project announced was Ukie’s partnership with Nesta to create a games industry cluster map which uses Big Data techniques to understand the size and location of the modern games and interactive entertainment industry across the UK.  

The report which Nesta releases today will be a key tool for investors and policy makers to understand patterns of growth. (see separate press release)

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist said: “I am really pleased with our new Board of Directors, and I very much look forward to working with them. There is lot we need and can achieve together as a sector, with some policy support where required. We need to tell the story of who and where we are through better data, and we need to ensure we are making games central to an inspiring new Computing curriculum. A collaborative approach to nurturing the right ecosystem for an inclusive and sustainable sector is the only way forward.” 

Ukie also outlined other key highlights from the last 12 months:

  • Successfully campaigning for the UK games tax relief scheme which came into effect in April 2014.
  • Collaborations with key partners to showcase the games sector at events nationwide - the Liverpool International Festival for Business, London Book Fair and the Big Bang fair in Birmingham. This year’s UK stands at gamescom and GDC also had a record number of UK businesses as part of the British collective
  • A new partnership with Nesta to create the first Games Mentoring Network, which pairs up established industry leaders with games businesses
  •  A series of new, low cost, bespoke training courses for all games businesses to address the need for professional development.
  •  New programme of activity for the Ukie Student Membership Scheme with six universities and more than 300 students registered on the programme. As part of the scheme, Ukie ran a remote game jam, a student focused conference, set up exclusive tickets to events such as Playstation First developer talks and took four students out to gamescom as part of our sponsorship programme.

Ukie membership growth in the past year has broken previous records with more than 63 games businesses of all shapes and sizes attracted to Ukie for our key work on skills, education and business support.

The Ukie 2014 Annual Review which can be found here was also published today, outlining some of the organisation’s activities over the last 12 months, and its plan for the next year.

A list of quotes from all the new board members can be found below. A full list of Ukie’s new Board can be found here

The report which Nesta released today can be found here.


Please see below a series of quotes from the new Ukie board members to accompany the new Ukie Board reflects exciting diversity of UK games businesses” Release from 25th September 2014:

Ella Romanos, Commercial Director at Strike GameLabs “I am honoured to have been re-elected back onto the board. Over the next two years, I want to focus on helping Ukie build a support framework for developers to make sure that we as an industry take full advantage of the tax breaks. I want to work closely with government and start-ups to improve the sector and promote inward investment and I work with academia to secure the talent pipeline to fix the skills shortage in our industry.

Fergal Gara, VP & MD at Sony Computer Entertainment UK & Ireland said "I am delighted to be re-elected to the Ukie board and to help promote and continue the great work Ukie has been involved in for another exciting two years.  There is lots we can be proud of from the past two years, but equally, lots more to do in making the UK the best place to develop and sell video games."

Helana Santos, Lead programmer at Modern Dream said “It is an honour to have been voted to become part of the Ukie board. I look forward to work with such talented and passionate people in the games industry and to make a positive step into the future. I am committed and excited to represent small studios and women in technology."

Ian Livingstone CBE, returning Board member and BIS Creative Industries Champion said “I am delighted to be re-elected to the Ukie Board. The Ukie team does an incredible job in support of the video games industry, and has achieved big wins on a number of major policy issues including skills and production tax relief. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. The video games industry is in a constant state of transition, and it is essential that Ukie continues to drive important policy initiatives on behalf of the industry.”

Kate Booth, Operations Director at Preloaded said “I am hugely excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the incredible work Ukie do on behalf of our industry. People often complain that in the UK we no longer 'make’ anything - yet we have some of the most diverse, innovative talent in the world, making beautiful, weird, memorable, life changing British games every day. I can’t wait to help nurture an environment that allows game makers to flourish and continue to show the rest of the world what our little islands are capable of!”

Keith Ramsdale, VP Major Markets at Electronic Arts said “Thanks to all the members who voted for me and EA to continue our representation on the Ukie Board. EA supports the Board with a team of in-house experts to help inform the current and future agendas. I’m truly excited to be involved during what will be an intriguing time of constant evolution for Ukie and this wonderful Industry.”

Miles Jacobson, Studio Director of Sports Interactive said “Thank you to everyone who saw fit to vote me onto the board for another 2 years – the last 2 have been both fun & productive, but there is still a lot more to do, particularly for the dev group, the IP group & the commercial group which will be a focus for my next 2 years with the aim to deliver more for members whilst taking into account the still difficult economic climate.”

Noirin Carmody, Founder & COO of Revolution Software said “I feel honoured to be re-elected and thank Ukie members for placing their trust in me. During my second term I look forward to helping drive Ukie’s Strategic Plan of promoting our Industry both in the UK and abroad.  I am delighted to represent Ukie members and will strive to ensure the organisation’s ongoing role as the common voice of the UK Games industry in encouraging a strong and diverse skills base, and achieving a better understanding of our industry through dialogue with all stakeholders including Government and the Media.”

Rob Cooper, Managing Director – Northern Europe and Export at Ubisoft said “Thank you to everyone who voted for me - it's an honour to serve on the Ukie board. We've made considerable progress over the past few years and I'm really looking forward to how we can now further promote our industry. From helping to create jobs and supporting opportunities with Creative Skillset and university courses designed for the industry needs, I am delighted to be part of the industry during this exciting time." 

Stuart Dinsey, Chairman of Curve Digital said 'I delighted to have joined the Ukie board and hope that I can make a positive contribution. I will try to use my many years' experience in the business, whilst learning fast and listening carefully.'