UK science, technology and arts fund NESTA, is to launch a new £450,000 initiative to help drive growth, collaboration and innovation in the UK games industry.

Set up in partnership with TIGA, Dare to be Digital (The University of Abertay) and Crossover Innovation Labs, the Raise the Game initiative will help the industry build on the creative talent base already in the UK, rather than outsourcing work to other countries.

Raise the Game will be made up of four strands:

1. A mentoring programme, which will team up experienced business people with games SMEs in order to grow their business.

2. Ease skill shortages by helping SMEs to find talented recruits, staff share schemes and to facilitate job swaps between complementary industries.

3. Nurture new innovative talent through intern placements in SME development studios, drawing from graduates of the international games competition Dare to be Digital.

4. Develop a series of 'innovation labs' fostering new collaborations and ideas for cross platform content – designed to bring games SME's to commissioners from beyond the traditional games sector.

NESTA says that innovation across these areas is "vital for helping the billion-pound games sector perform successfully against global competition".

Last year saw unprecedented growth in sales of video games, a rise of 16% on the previous year, bringing the total to 75.9 million units sold.

NESTA CEO, Jonathan Kestenbaum said: "Raise the Game is seeking to provide a means by which the industry can work together and draw from the enormous amount of creative talent currently available.

"This new programme will be instrumental in fostering creativity and building relationships throughout the games industry and beyond to ensure the innovation and growth capacities of UK companies are harnessed."