The University of California, Davis announced grants for vocational education, child poverty, international migration and the cultural impact of video games. All of these topics are part of the Interdisciplinary Frontiers in Humanities and Arts program, which will receive combined funding of $3.6 million over three years. The goal is to kick start new research that can go on to compete for funding from "external sources." The funding comes from indirect costs of grants awarded to UC Davis under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or stimulus funds. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi set aside the funds for reinvestment in campus research.
Of particular interest to our readers is a grant to do research on "gamification." The research team will do a "cultural analysis" of video game technologies and produce and develop game-related technologies that give greater access to important topics such as the arts, science, health interventions and culture.
The team heading up this project comes from 11 different disciplines including geology, food science, cinema studies, and anthropology. Colin Milburn, the team leader, is an associate professor of English, and holder of the Gary Snyder Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities. He is also a big fan of using game technologies to teach students in his area of expertise – English studies.
"By some measures, the video game has become the most significant medium of contemporary culture," Milburn said. "Games and game technologies are now used in an immense variety of contexts beyond entertainment and artistic expression, including education, politics, business, military training, medicine and even scientific research."
Check out the video to your left from a year ago featuring Colin Milburn, UC Davis associate professor of English, explaining how he uses technology and video games to teach students about the subject.
You can learn more about the rest of the grants at UC Davis.