Industrial Doctorate Centre: Digital Media, Special Effects and Animation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Computer Science


This proposal is aimed at the special effects, animation, post-production industries, and computer games companies, in which the UK holds a world-class position. This area is a major and buoyant element of the UK economy, comparable with the financial services sector in importance. It is vital to sustain its future. In practice this means training new people with research-level skills coupled to management expertise. While companies in this sector generally know each other and often work co-operatively on projects, they each rely on innovation, having their own in-house technological or creative edge to distinguish them from the others. The ability to deliver novel technical effects, to budget and to time, is essential for any company's survival. However, for new developments to be useful, they have to be steered in various practical ways. Having the Doctoral Candidate (DC) in the company minimises the delay in developing such techniques and turning them into useful software. For a company to develop its in-house technology it needs to have high-calibre staff, conversant with the state of the art, working on new techniques and then able to embed these in professional quality software. These staff may have either a creative or a technological background but ideally they will understand both areas and also appreciate the company's business model. When the industry is in a lean time, these are the staff who will be retained; they are the company's future. Our IDC is geared towards providing a sustained flow of such people while developing them collectively as a community. Networking with peers in other companies, and knowing who can deliver what, is often a vital part of gaining a contract. The model proposed here, where DCs are largely based in the industry, is ideal for this fast-moving area where pure academic research can be overtaken by events and commercial budgets can make things happen quickly.


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