BU in Queen’s Honours List

At a reception at St James’s Palace, London, BU was recognised for its contribution to world-leading excellence and pioneering development in computer animation. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes form part of the national honours system and are the most prestigious awards in UK education.

The formal presentation of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize ‘Diamond Jubilee Round’ will be bestowed upon BU by Her Majesty The Queen and HRH, the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace, on 24 February, 2012.

This award celebrates the talent, commitment and knowledge of the University’s National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA). For the past 22 years, the NCCA, based in BU’s Media School, has been at the forefront of computer animation education and research in the UK, consistently blending art and design with mathematical and computer science.

BU’s Animation team focuses on this distinctive learning approach, which sets it apart from other institutions in the UK. Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees have produced award winning Alumni who have stamped their impact on the industry.

Almost half of all graduates from visual effects (VFX) courses who gained employment in the VFX industry have graduated from BU. More than 50 graduates worked on James Cameron’s epic Avatar, and during 2011, MA graduate Andy Lockley received the ultimate industry accolade – an Oscar – for his visual effects work on Inception. Other credits over the years have included Star Wars, Toy Story and the Harry Potter series.

NCCA: Innovating the Future of Computer Animation.

Research at the NCCA has pioneered new industry techniques, including motion capture to digitally record and translate movement and ‘skinning’, which is the process of attaching a character’s skin or surface so that it realistically reflects movement of the underlying structure or skeleton. In addition, the group has established a multi-million pound doctoral research Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) in conjunction with the University of Bath.

Recent innovative developments have focused on examples of collaboration between art and science in which computer animation assists in the world of medicine. Researchers have been working with NHS consultant surgeons to simulate laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer. The animated soft tissue, organs and touch sensitive tools accurately portray the look and feel of surgery.

The NCCA’s success was recognised by the National Endowment for Science Technology and Art (NESTA) earlier this year. Their Next Gen. report into the video games and visual effects industries in the UK singled out the NCCA and its courses as a “shining example” compared to other institutions.

Honorary graduate of BU, Dr Ian Livingstone OBE, games pioneer and co-author of the 2011 NESTA report, said:

Courses at Bournemouth University are of high quality and their graduates have a deep understanding of both art and science. BU was referenced in our Next Gen. report as a genuine centre for excellence, and graduates do not come any better than from Bournemouth.

BU Chair of the Board of Governors, Sue Sutherland OBE, and Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Vinney attended the official prize winners’ reception.

Professor Vinney expressed delight at the University’s achievement: “I am absolutely delighted that the fantastic work at Bournemouth University has been recognised by The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes. This is a national honour recognising international excellence and I am extremely proud of everyone involved.”

Dean of the School, Stephen Jukes paid tribute to BU’s Computer Animation team:

The team has built up a formidable and highly deserved reputation for producing graduates who can hit the ground running and make a real impact in the creative industries; the team’s world class research is continually breaking new ground. We are immensely proud of Animation at BU and this accolade is richly deserved.

Professor of Computer Animation, Peter Comninos, said: “We are privileged to receive this honour which reflects the achievements of the entire teaching and research teams of the National Centre for Computer Animation. In the twenty-two years since our Centre was established we have striven to establish the new discipline of Computer Animation and Digital Visual Effects, to pioneer academically challenging and industry relevant degree programmes, and to conduct research of international relevance in this field.”

“We would also like to acknowledge the support of our students, alumni and industry partners over two decades in helping make the NCCA a fantastic place to learn.”