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New centre to train next generation of "high calibre" animators

Universities of Bath and Bournemouth awarded £6.3m to fund 50 doctoral studentships

The University of Bath and Bournemouth University have partnered to form the Centre for Digital Entertainment - a collaboration which will fund 50 doctoral studentships in digital entertainment.

Funding of GBP 6.3 million has been awarded to the CDE by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council - money which will be used to fund the studentships - while the programme will also partner with a range of computer animation, games and visual effects industries that will offer students real projects to work on during the course.

"This is an excellent programme which will benefit our industry significantly," commented Dave Walsh, managing director of Frontier. "The centre will allow us to increase the number of highly skilled people we can bring to bear on the exciting technical challenges we are addressing by blending the best of academia with top quality commercial organisations in an effective, focused way."

Andy Lomas, head of computer graphics at Framestore CFC added, "I believe that in the UK we are missing out in the type of close connections between academic research and the animation and visual effects industry that happens in North America. The proposed Doctoral Centre could have very significant impact in addressing this gap."

The program, which will last four years, will allocate 75 per cent of a student's time to working in a company on real projects, with support being offered by both universities and work forming the basis of an Engineering or Professional Doctorate.

It forms part of Britain's biggest ever investment of GBP 250 million aimed at training scientists and engineers of the future. Among the scheme's industry partners are Codemasters, Frontier Developments, Bizarre Creations, Lionhead Studios, Rare, SCEE and Relentless. Starting in October 2009, the 50 student placements will be spread over eight years.

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