Bournemouth University in Queen's Honours list

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Bournemouth University (BU) has today been awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Hams Off – the final project of NCCA Master’s student Denis Constantinou

Hams Off – the final project of NCCA Master’s student Denis Constantinou

Graduates do not come any better than from Bournemouth" – Ian Livingstone OBE

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.

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.

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.”

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."

The Royal Anniversary Trust

The Royal Anniversary Trust is an independent charity - registered number 1,000,000 -concerned with the advancement of education for public benefit. It was set up in 1990 with the object of carrying out a programme of events and activities during 1992, funded and supported from private sources with official endorsement, to mark the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s accession and her years of service as Head of State. The Trust currently works to promote world class excellence in UK universities and colleges through The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education.

The Prizes are a biennial award scheme which is within the UK’s national honours system. As such they are the UK’s most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution. The honour is distinctive in recognising the institution rather than an individual or team. The scheme was established in 1993 with the approval of The Queen and all-party support in Parliament.

All eligible universities and colleges in the UK are invited to enter the biennial rounds of the scheme. The assessment process is overseen by the Awards Council of the Trust which makes the final recommendations which are submitted to the Prime Minister for advice to The Queen.

A full list of winning institutions will be available from Friday 25 November 2011.

For media interviews, video clips and images, please contact James Donald, Press and PR Manager, on 01202 961032 or jdonald(at)bournemouth(dot)ac(dot)uk.


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