The Grads In Games Awards recognise the people, studios and institutions that have made a real impact in improving the links between the games industry and education.

The awards highlight the academics, universities, colleges & courses that are going the extra mile, not just by educating, but actively helping students make the leap to becoming professional game developers. The awards also bring attention to the progressive studios and collaborations, forging university connections & supporting graduates making their first steps into the games industry.

We also recognise the students and projects that are already firmly on this path, producing exemplary work and helping those around them to achieve more.


The Grads In Games Awards

Award Categories 2021

Further Education | Higher Education

Educational Institution
Further Education | Higher Education

Student Hero

Student Showcase
Core Tech Programmer | Technical Artist

Student Game

Industry Collaboration

Industry Advocate

Graduate Employer

Graduate Impact

The 2021 Award Categories in Detail

Academic Award

Eligibility : Individual academics, lecturers & tutors who have contributed to games or games-related courses during the eligibility period.
Team/group nominations may also be considered in place of individual nominations.

Lecturers,course leaders & academics who have demonstrated a positive impact with their students over the past 12 months. We want to showcase the academics who are doing the most to help students, giving them the best opportunities to graduate straight into a games industry role.

These are the academics that go beyond just the lectures, are often excellent student mentors, organise industry events and speakers, and can show wide-ranging beneficial results of their work.

Educational Institution Award

Eligibility : FE or HE providers who have operated accredited courses in games or games-related areas during the eligibility period. 

Universities, colleges and academic institutions that have demonstrated a real, positive impact with their students over the past 12 months. We want to showcase the departments and courses that are doing the most to help students, giving them the best opportunities to graduate straight into a games industry role, including high achievements in our Search For A Star challenges.

We want to recognise the institutions who actively implement initiatives or take positive actions to help students gain employment within the games industry.

Student Hero Award

Eligibility : Individuals studying undergraduate or post-graduate games or games-related courses.

Current games students who have demonstrated a positive impact with their fellow students over the past 12 months. We want to showcase the students who are the doing the most to support, progress and inspire their peers through a range of pro-active and supportive activities.

These are the students that actively strive to learn more, are happy to help and share their knowledge, who are always trying new things and new approaches, and who probably already have an impressive portfolio of projects & activities both as part of coursework & as extra-curricular work.

Student Game Award

Eligibility : Games released (in any form) during the eligibility period, created by individuals or teams studying undergraduate or post-graduate games or games-related courses.
Games do not need to have been created as part of coursework or as an academic project.

Student games projects published within the past 12 months, that demonstrate a strong talent and aptitude from its developer(s). These can be an individual project or a group project, either as part of student coursework or produced independently and extra-curricular. We want to showcase the projects that go above and beyond expectations & highlight students making excellent preparation for life as a professional developer.

Industry Collaboration

Eligibility: Universities and games industry studios.
Actively collaborative works between universities/students and studios within the past 12 months. This can be studio oversight or initiation of a course module, an individual project or a group project as part of an academic course. We want to showcase universities and studios that demonstrate strong interaction and build direct connections between courses and the games industry.

Examples include:
Projects with briefs provided by a games studio or students receive live game briefs.
Active studio involvement in the development of a game prototype.
Projects that are substantially supported by games studios through training and mentorship.

Industry Advocate Award

Eligibility: Individuals who are employed in the games industry.

Games industry professionals that demonstrate a positive and pro-active approach to supporting students and graduates. We want to highlight those individuals who are always looking for opportunities to help and give back alongside their day job. 

This can include presenting talks at universities and colleges, actively mentoring students, providing portfolio reviews and advice, attending student expo days and fairs, producing educational content. These are all activities we want to highlight in those advocates from the games industry who go above and beyond their day job to help the next generation of the games industry.


Graduate Employer Award

Eligibility : Studios and companies within the games industry who have hired interns, graduate or junior level staff during the eligibility period.

Games studios & companies that have demonstrated a positive and pro-active approach in hiring and supporting graduates & interns over the past 12 months. We want to showcase the studios that are doing the most to help the next generation of games developers, working towards a more sustainable future for the games industry.

These are the companies who take an active role in mentoring and supporting their junior staff, training them not just for their current role, but preparing them for their career ahead in games.

Graduate Impact Award

Eligibility : Individuals who have been employed within the games industry for 2 years or less, in graduate, junior and/or intern roles.

Recent graduates and junior staff that have exceeded expectations in a studio role. We want to showcase the staff that are making their first steps in the industry but are already having a hugely positive impact, not just within your studio but also towards the industry as a whole.

From graduates quickly becoming an essential and integral member of their team, to those already developing leadership potential, and to those in early stages of becoming key figures at industry events and outreach initiatives, we want to recognise the burgeoning efforts of these future games superstars & the benefits that graduate staff can bring to a team.

The Grads in Games Student Showcase Awards

The Grads in Games Student Showcase is a chance for current students who excel in developing some of the games industry’s most sought-after pieces of work to showcase what they can do. Students are asked to submit a project which is to be judged by a panel of industry experts who will decide which is the strongest.

Eligibility for all awards: Individuals who are currently studying at university (undergrad or post-grad)

Core Tech Programmer

Students who demonstrate high aptitude and interest in core tech development in games. We want to showcase the skilled students who are building core technology, whether in Engine, Graphics, Rendering, Animation and all Low-level system programming.

These are the students that have exceptional technical knowledge, including C++ and strong Maths. They have a good understanding of performance and optimisation, and will typically have a good knowledge of games engines. Nominees should be people who actively strives to solve difficult technical problems, learn more and deepen their knowledge of core tech programming inside and outside of their university course.

Technical Artist

Students who have demonstrate high aptitude and interest in Technical Art. We want to showcase the students that bridge the gap between art and programming, applying technical knowledge and skills across tools and development pipelines to aid the creation of game art.

These students will have a deep knowledge of 3D creation packages, such as Maya, Max, ZBrush, as well as knowledge of programming/scripting languages such as Python, C#, C++ and HLSL. They are able to show technical proficiency in areas such as lighting, rendering and texturing, are typically proficient working with games engines.

Entry & Eligibility details

Eligibility period for the 2021 awards is 1st January 2020 to 1st January 2021 unless stated otherwise.

You may enter multiple nominations for a single category, as long as they are for different nominees. You may enter nominations for multiple categories.

Nominations for the 2021 awards will close at midnight on the 15th March 2021.

2021 shortlists & awards reveal will take place across March 2021.

The Grads In Games Awards

Part of the Grads In Games initiative

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