The Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) has been awarded £6.3m by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to fund 50 doctoral studentships in digital entertainment.

The CDE’s purpose is to train the next generation of leaders in the computer animation, games and digital effects industries by offering a doctoral program that places researchers directly in companies to work on real projects.

Under academic supervision students’ work will form the basis of an Engineering or Professional Doctorate.

CDE is a collaboration between the University of Bath, Bournemouth University and industry partners including Framestore, Aardman and The Moving Picture Company.

Andy Lomas, head of CG at Framestore said: “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 programme lasts 4 years with 75% of student’s time being based in a company working on real projects.

The taught programme will be negotiated by the student, academic supervisors and the host company allowing bespoke tailoring to particular research needs.

Courses begin in October 2009.