Could you join our team of ambitious, smart, and diverse humans in the world’s largest doctoral training programme in games?
Page Index: Taster Day - Applications Workshop - Who Should Apply - Why Apply to IGGI - Locations - Who is Eligible to Apply - Research Theme and Supervisor - Developing a Project Proposal - Completing & Submitting Your Application - Funding Your PhD
IGGI’s recruitment round for September 2022 entry is now open! Applications can be submitted any time before the (strict) closing date of Thursday, 27 January 2022 at 12:00 noon (GMT)
On 22 November 2021, IGGI held an online Taster Day aimed at those who are interested in applying to the programme. The schedule included the following sessions:
- Intro to IGGI - What is IGGI and is it for me? Intro to IGGI and the IGGI student community: What is games PhD research? What financial and other support is available to IGGI students? Where do students go after graduating?
- Meet potential supervisors
- Lunch/ one-on-one time for candidates to talk to potential supervisors
- How to write an application - brief presentation + Q&A
- Meet current IGGI PhD students
A summary of the Taster Day (recording, slides, Q&A) is now available via this page.
On 06 December 2021, IGGI held an Applicatio Workshop which was focussed on providing guidance for writing a high-quality proposal and on explaining which other documents and activities are required for a successful application. The schedule included the following items:
- Overview: Intro to IGGI & process for making an application
- Identifying a project and supervisor
- Writing the research proposal
- Other documents to be submitted with your application
- Submitting your application
- Q&A Session
A summary of the Application Workshop is now available via this page.
Who Should Apply
In this recruitment round we are seeking 12 diverse and motivated individuals who feel they will benefit from the IGGI community (currently comprising over 70 PhD students, 60 supervisors) with its close links to games industry/related academia, and who wish to conduct interdisciplinary research in areas such as:
- Using machine learning (ML) and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) to create interesting, fun, believable game agents
- Augmented creativity tools that support game designers and developers, e.g. procedural content generation, AI-assisted game design and testing
- Understanding player experience, games user research, and game analytics
- Game audio and music
- Interaction, user experience, and learning design for games
- Using games and gamification to support wellbeing, learning, or social change
- Using esports and other game data to study human behaviour and psychology
- Using game AI and other game ideas to improve real-world decision making
IGGI students are a diverse group, and admission decisions are made on the basis of your potential to do good work and make a positive impact through games research and as a member of an active research community with strong links to the games industry. We especially welcome applications from candidates belonging to groups that are currently under-represented in games research and industry; these include (but are not limited to) females, individuals from ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people from low-income backgrounds, and people with physical disabilities.
We place high value on team spirit. While traditionally, working on a PhD can be an isolating experience, IGGI’s key attraction points include the peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and social support that the IGGI community affords. IGGI is more than the sum of its parts. This, however, entails each individual’s personal commitment: Your active engagement with fellow students, supervisors and industry, as well as your help in the organisation of IGGI-run events such as the annual IGGI Conference and the IGGI Game Jam is expected, not just because it forms part of the training funded by the IGGI grant: it is also integral to the Centre for Doctoral Training as a thriving community.
Why Apply to IGGI
IGGI brings together over 60 senior researchers in games and related fields working on creating positive impact on and through games; that’s 60 outstanding researchers who you can draw on as supervisors.
You will receive focused skills training in game design, games research methods, game development, game AI, responsible innovation, and engaging users and the public with your work. In addition, you will have access to training in a wide range of topics such as AI, HCI, graphics, audio, and psychology.
You will have opportunities to collaborate with other students and researchers, make games, and share your work through events such as
- the annual IGGI Game Jam, a 48 hour game development challenge as part of the Global Game Jam or Ludum Dare, enhancing your skills in game design, development, and teamwork
- the annual IGGI Conference, showcasing student research alongside industry and academic speakers
- research seminars
- social and game-playing events
- research and writing workshops run by students
Through interaction with your fellow IGGI students, you will naturally become part of a support network and meet people who share your interests and experience.
The IGGI programme requires you to work directly with industry and social partner organisations for a minimum of 8 weeks (but typically for longer) and will encourage you to establish contacts with companies/studios/academia relevant to your research interests. Placements, research exchanges, and other forms of knowledge exchange will give you the possibility to make a direct and positive impact, experience the games industry first hand, and collaborate with researchers and practitioners. Previous and current IGGI students have worked with partner organisations such as Sony Interactive Entertainment, Bossa Studios, Google, Bloomberg, PROWLER.io, Media Molecule, BT, Splash Damage, Microsoft Research, and Sue Ryder, to name but a few.
Even though your application for an IGGI studentship will be handled centrally by IGGI-admin, you will apply for a place based at either IGGI York or IGGI QMUL (depending on the home uni of your chosen supervisor), as UoY and QMUL are the sole grant holders of IGGI's second funding round - places at Essex or Goldsmiths will no longer be offered.
Who is Eligible to Apply
UK, EU, and international students are eligible to apply and receive a stipend and tuition based on EPSRC rules. If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss National please check this UK CISA guidance brochure to determine whether you would be considered as a “home fee” or “international fee” applicant. International students will need to apply for a Student Visa (formerly called “Tier 4 Visa”).
Applicants normally hold a masters degree enabling them to do games research in their chosen research area (e.g. computer science, HCI, psychology, game design and development), or a relevant undergraduate degree and a portfolio of work and/or experience (particularly related to making games). We also expect applicants to bring the requisite basic technical (programming) skills to succeed in our training modules in game design and development. Prior practical experience in making games is not required but is a definite plus.
The IGGI Programme is not intended for remote study; students are expected to live within reasonable distance to the university campus where their chosen primary supervisor is based (near Whitechapel/Mile End campus for students with QMUL-based supervisors, and near University of York for those with YoU-based supervisors).
Although it is not recommended, switching to part-time study is theoretically possible after successful completion of Year 1 (Progression Point/Stage 1), pending formal approval and with a minimum of 50% FT equivalent study commitment.
Research Theme and Supervisor
Application starts with finding a primary supervisor you want to work with, and deciding whether you want to develop your own PhD project or apply to a project pitch that has already been framed by your supervisor.
If you want to apply to a pre-defined project:
Check the list of project proposals for 2022. If you find one or more that fit your research interests, contact the supervisor listed as framing the project. We recommend introducing yourself via a short email with your educational and professional background, identifying the project or area you would like to work on, and some further background on why you are interested in that topic and how it fits your profile. Even if the proposed topic doesn't perfectly match your interests, our supervisors are often open to developing a PhD project on a related topic. So, if the pre-defined project is close to but not exactly what you are interested in, it is still worthwhile contacting the supervisor.
If you want to develop your own project:
Check the list of potential IGGI supervisors, listed with their research interests, and contact those that most closely match the research you would like to undertake. If you cannot find a fitting supervisor, you can contact us at email@example.com to try to find a suitable match.
Once you have identified potential supervisors, contact them directly to see if they are interested in supervising you and developing a project proposal with you. We recommend introducing yourself with your educational and professional background, areas you'd like to do a PhD in and why, and why you chose to approach them.
Please do this as early as possible before you plan to submit your application. Your first choice may not be available for supervision or may find your project not fitting with their current scope, so you may have to try more than once to find a supervisor. It might take several weeks (or more). And developing a good proposal takes time.
Developing a Project Proposal
Once you have found a primary supervisor to work with, you need to develop a detailed project proposal. If you apply with a project which has been framed by yourself, you can have a dialogue with your intended supervisor about possible directions. If you apply to a project already pitched by a supervisor, they can tell you more about the background of the pitch.
Either way, once you agreed on a project direction or have understood the project pitch, you should next develop a detailed project proposal on your own. A well-written and researched proposal is a key indicator of your suitability for the IGGI programme.
A project proposal should state the research question you want to answer in your PhD, why it is important, how you plan to answer it, and how it might have a positive impact on the world. Please use the Proposal Template Word version 2.2, PDF version 2.2. for your proposal, which sets out the requirements. For help, have a look at our tips for proposal writing, or an example of a previous successful proposal.
Note that your proposal must fit within the IGGI research themes: have a look at our research themes and current student projects for guidance and inspiration. IGGI intentionally tries to be a broad church for research topics, but projects ultimately need to address the goals underlying IGGI's funding: it needs to be games research that has some potential practical value for game developers and designers, be it for applied or entertainment games, and be within EPSRC remit to at least 50%. If in doubt, your intended supervisor can help frame a project that fits IGGI.
Important: While you can and should communicate with your intended supervisor about your proposal, the proposal text must be written solely by you. Your supervisor may give you overall feedback on proposal drafts, but they must not directly write or edit the document.
Completing & Submitting Your Application
To complete your application, by or before the deadline of 12:00 noon GMT on Thursday 27 January 2022, email IGGI at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following documents as PDF attachments:
PLEASE NOTE: ALL DOCUMENTS LISTED BELOW SHOULD BE SENT AS ATTACHMENTS (PDFs) IN ONE SINGLE EMAIL. PLEASE ONLY MAKE ONE SUBMISSION. WE CANNOT CONSIDER INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS, SCATTERED SUBMISSIONS, OR MULTIPLE ENTRIES, NOR ARE WE ABLE TO REVIEW YOUR SUBMISSION PRIOR TO THE DEADLINE.
(1) Academic transcripts of previous degrees. Please include degree certificates and formal transcripts of your academic record, providing full details of the degrees, classes, grades you have obtained and the units you have taken. If your degree result is still pending, please include an interim transcript. If the original certificate/transcript is not in English language you must provide both, a copy of the original and an English certified translation.
(2) Your project proposal which should identify a potential supervisor and one of the research themes stated above. Your statement of planned research needs to outline the nature of your proposed study and give some indication of how you will conduct your research. You can find the template for the research proposal here:
It must be in English and be your own words. We invite well-developed but concise proposals which are 2 pages or below in length. Please note that due to the typically large volume of applications, IGGI investigators will not be able to fully assess proposals which exceed that limit. If you are applying with a pre-defined project then please state this in the heading of the research proposal.
(3) A short CV, to give further background information on your prior experience and qualifications.
(4) A cover letter containing a short personal statement (not exceeding 250 words).
a) At the top of the letter, please let us know your telephone number, email address, current home address, and country of residence. Please note that this information (along with everything you submit) will be shared with IGGI staff and the supervisors on your interview panel.
b) Please state whether you are applying as a home or international student. For EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals please use this link https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/uploads/files/1/england_he_who_pays__home_fees_public_version1_10.5.21.pdf to verify which fee status would apply to you (home or international fee) and include this in your statement. The IGGI grant will pay for your fee if you are successful with your application, but the number of international fee studentships we can offer is limited to 30% of the total (this year that will be 3 or 4).
(5) Two written references by either current/former supervising academic(s) or employer(s). Please also include corresponding email contact for them.
(6) Evidence of your technical skills: As noted, we expect applicants to bring the requisite technical skills to succeed on the programme. These can be evidenced e.g. through your academic transcripts, certificates of online learning programmes, or a portfolio of work, which can include examples of source code you have written. Specifically we are looking for:
b) Any technical skills required to conduct the specific research you propose. For example, if you are proposing to advance machine learning in games, we would look for evidence of background knowledge and skills in that area. If you are proposing research on design patterns or player experience, we would look for different skill sets.
(7) Please check via the links below if local entry requirements will necessitate that you provide a proof of your English language skills (this could be the case e.g., for some international applicants and/or if English is not your first language). If so, then please include evidence of your English language skills. We have set a minimum English language proficiency level of 6.5 in the IELTS test, with at least 6.0 in each component, or a TOEFL score of 92, with a minimum of 21 in each component. If you hold a degree from a university in a majority-English speaking country and if on 1st October 2022 no more than 2 years have passed since you have been taught on the degree, you may not need to provide such evidence. The regulations differ between York and QMUL and you will have to meet the requirements of the institution at which your intended supervisor is based.
Please contact us at email@example.com if in doubt.
(8) Please complete the IGGI Recruitment Diversity Monitoring Form. Please complet this AFTER you submitted your full application to us, not before.
Once your application has been received, we will contact you within three working days to confirm receipt and advise the next steps and timing of the ongoing application process.
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If you need to contact us directly, further details can be found on our contacts page.
Funding Your PhD
The funded studentship covers all tuition fees and a tax- and national insurance-free stipend of currently £15,609 per year (2021/22 rates). London-based students will receive an additional London weighting payment of presently £2,000.
In addition to fees and stipend, students are allocated a research and travel allowance (presently £2,600) to cover conference travel and research expenses during their four years. IGGI also covers travel and accommodation required by the demands of the IGGI programme, subject to EPSRC eligibility criteria.
Note that EU and international students on a Student visa (formerly Tier 4 visa) will have to pay a healthcare surcharge of currently £470 per year; this is not covered by IGGI.
It is always possible to apply to the IGGI programme as a self-funded student or with funding from another source. Please be aware that you will need to be able to prove that you have the funding to cover the tuition fees, living costs, and the additional travel and accommodation costs required for this course.
Tuition fees vary according to your fee status and to which institution (UoY or QMUL) you are applying. To discuss living costs, tuition fees and additional programme costs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to apply as self-funded student, do not apply to the institution directly in the first instance but please still follow the application process as laid out above indicating on your cover email/letter that you wish to proceed as “self-funded”. We will then obtain a statement of support from your chosen supervisor and pre-check your documents in order to establish that you have met our benchmark criteria.