Scottish student Daniel Goldie-Furlong's career goal to work in the heartland of the multi-billion pound global video games industry has reached the next level after winning a prestigious scholarship to study in Japan.
The games design and production student from Dundee’s Abertay University will spend this summer at a Japanese university learning the language and exploring links with business and industry after being awarded the Thomas Blake Glover ASI Scholarship, sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments.
Daniel is in the second year of his studies at Abertay, hailed as one of the top destinations in Europe to study computer games and which has close links to Dundee’s thriving videogames industry, where Rockstar North, the studio behind Grand Theft Auto, was born. Now he’s destined to study in the country that has been regarded as a world leader in gaming for decades, and which continues to shape the industry.
Daniel (19) said: “I feel honoured to have been chosen out of the many applicants for the Thomas Blake Glover ASI Scholarship this year. The opportunities that this scholarship affords me cannot be understated. It will allow me to further my Japanese language skills and immerse myself in the Japanese culture first-hand. It will also allow me to advance my chosen career path by setting up meetings with people who work within the Japanese games industry. Though it is still a while before I go, I am already preparing myself and am looking incredibly forward to it.”
Daniel is a former pupil of Loretto School in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, and knew from his early teenage years that he wanted to carve his future career in the games design industry. In 2017 he was a finalist in the BAFTA Young Game Designer Award with an educational game concept to help players learn Japanese, and a year later he began his studies at the University of Abertay.
His burning desire to work in Japan has seen him learning to speak Japanese and promoting Japanese culture and games on his YouTube channel . As president of the Abertay Jukiyo Society, he shares his love of Asian pop culture with fellow students.
Given Abertay’s status as one of Europe’s top games design institutes, Daniel hopes his time in Japan will allow time to explore opportunities to develop educational links that could lead to new and useful connections in the future.
Daniel added: “While this is an incredible opportunity for me personally, I hope there can also be opportunities for the university, as a centre of excellence in the computer game industry, and Japan, which is one of the largest computer game producers in the world. I’d like to try and explore the possibility of establishing links between Abertay and a Japanese institution, which offers game design as a course which could lead to future partnerships, perhaps through exchange programmes or internships.”
Japan, home to legendary firms like Nintendo and Sega, has the third largest economy in the world. Its commercial strength is in part built on the work of the achievements of the founding fathers of industrialised Japan, like Scots-born Thomas Blake Glover, after whom the scholarship is named.
Glover played a critically important role in opening trade links between Japan and the West and the scholarship recognises this achievement by providing students with the opportunity to learn about business and culture to further improving Scotland’s historic links with Japan. The annual scholarship has been sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments for over a decade and attracts strong interest from candidates attending universities across Scotland.
Callum Farquhar of the Japan Society of Scotland, which runs the award, said: “With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and the Thomas Blake Glover ASI Scholarship, it seems that Japan is the place to be this summer.
“The scholarship attracted an excellent field of candidates, but Daniel stood out. Not only did he demonstrate his interest in immersing himself in the language and culture of Japan, but his very focussed approach to attaining his career goals was impressive.
“We are delighted, thanks to Aberdeen Standard Investment’s sponsorship of this award, to be able to give Daniel this unique opportunity to spend his summer studying at university in Japan. We hope that it not only broadens his horizons but opens up the potential for him to fulfil his career aspirations.”
Jill Maxwell, Global Head of Sponsorship at Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “Daniel is already planning how to make best use of in Japan, as he seeks to not only improve his language skills but to build links that could help him and other games students at Abertay in the future. Past winners return from the scholarship tell us that it is the experience of a lifetime and we’re sure this will ring true for Daniel.”
Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay’s School of Design and Informatics believes that Daniel will make a great ambassador for the university and said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Daniel that will undoubtedly enhance his career prospects. Abertay, and the city of Dundee have both made a huge impact on the videogames sector and it’s great for Daniel to be experiencing another city with such a strong games heritage.”