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PhD Bursary in Virtual Production

Our flourishing research and scholarship culture celebrates and enables original investigation; extending knowledge fields and developing new understanding within the arts.

PhD Bursary in Virtual Production

Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) is pleased to offer one part-time fees only bursary for the above PhD opportunity to outstanding applicants seeking to begin a programme of research with AUB in September 2024.

The research aligns to the University’s Animation and Moving Image Research Group.

Bursary details

Qualification type




Funding for

UK/Home Students

Funding amount

Home Tuition Fees paid for up to five years



Application deadline

30 May 2024

Application overview

The overarching objective of this study is to critically examine how innovations in ‘Virtual Production’ (VP) have impacted on our understanding of the ‘production cultures’ and ‘communities of practice’ associated with animation, film and VFX. VP’s cutting-edge synthesis of elements including physical and digital artefacts, real performance, and games engine-driven world-building necessarily requires interdisciplinary and cross-specialism knowledge and practical skills to fully understand this emergent field and the people working within it.

While the successful candidate will have a large degree of freedom in developing their specific research topic, it's envisaged that the PhD will make a specific contribution to growing knowledge around how the creative industries organise and structure contemporary moving image production. It could suit a graduate from one of the subject areas pertinent to this research, or someone who's working in a relevant capacity in the creative industries and wishes to move into a more research-focused role.

Research questions and aims might be focused on:

  • Performance capture – technical, aesthetic and practical problems, including how notions of performance have been impacted by VP innovations.
  • Realism – the ways in which games engine-based production shores up or problematises depictions of realistic settings and world-building.
  • Practical problems and workarounds in the production pipeline – e.g. combining 2D and other assets in digital worlds;
  • Working with puppets, models and stop motion innovations alongside VP.
  • Innovations in production involving look development, photogrammetry.
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence – how ML/AI impacts on the field of moving image production.

Supervision will be led by Professor Paul Ward, Course Leader for MA Animation Production at AUB.

  • Candidates for a PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in five years (part-time).
  • Applicants should hold a first or 2:1 Honours degree and typically a Master's degree in an appropriate subject
  • Applicants with alternative qualifications/experience will be considered if they can demonstrate relevant achievement. Applicants whose first language is not English will be expected to have an IELTS score of at least 7.0 with 7.0 minimum in writing.
  • In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, AUB will look closely at the research potential and academic qualities of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful and timely completion.

  • Applicants are also invited from students who wish to self-fund their studies.

    Please refer to the bursary terms and conditions for further details. We particularly welcome applicants who self-identify as being from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME/Global Majority) background.

How to apply

  • All applicants should apply via AUB's online application portal.
  • As part of the application, you'll be required to submit a 1,500-word proposal that follows the guidelines available on the website; and two academic references. You should also upload a copy of your CV.
  • You should clearly state in your proposal that you wish to be considered for this bursary.
  • Closing date for applications is 30 May 2024. Interviews will take place in June/early July.

Further information

Full information can be found at:

AUB’s Research Degrees are awarded in partnership with University of the Arts London.

Enquiries regarding our PhD programmes and the admissions process, please contact the AUB Research Office:

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