Jian J Zhang is Professor of Computer Graphics at the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), Bournemouth University where he leads the National Research Centre. He has worked at various universities including Bristol University, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Chongqing University, Queens University of Belfast and Brunel University.
As Principle Investigator, Prof Zhang has brought in 10 million pounds (GBP) of research grants to the NCCA from the EPSRC, AHRC, EU FP7 and EU H2020 as well as other funding organisations. His research focuses on a number of topics relating to 3D computer animation, virtual human modelling and simulation, and physics-based animation. He is also interested in virtual reality, medical visualisation and simulation, and conversational AI. Prof Zhang has published over 350 peer reviewed journal and conference publications and has given over 30 invited/keynote talks around the world. He has chaired over 40 international conferences and symposia, and serves on a number of editorial boards. Prof Zhang was awarded the "CGI Outstanding Career Award" by Computer Graphics International and Computer Graphics Society in 2021.

Research Projects

Student Research Projects & Publications

Centre for Digital Entertainment

The Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) is an EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training located at Bath and Bournemouth Universities. It offers a fully funded, four-year EngD programme. Postgraduate researchers collaborate closely with some of the world's most innovative high-tech companies, not just for short-term placements, but through full immersion, typically for three years. CDE's industry partners include leading animation, VFX, and games companies such as MPC, Ninja Theory, Double Negative, and Sony, as well as organizations that apply these skills in various sectors like the NHS, Perkin Elmer Ltd, and the National Trust. CDE provides exceptional and unique opportunities for both students and companies.

Founded in 2009, CDE is the national Doctoral Training Centre in these sectors with £20 million of investment taking us through to 2023. We are a big and supportive CDE family working alongside some of the most outstanding companies in the world.

BU Intel-PA PhDs

During 2020 Bournemouth University (BU) held a competition to initiate a research theme-based Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The competition was won by Professor Jian Zhang Co-Director of the CDE, with the research theme of the Intelligent Virtual Personal Assistant (Intel-PA), an AI-powered conversational animated avatar. The Intel PA research theme builds on the research strengths of BU’s National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) namely: Animation, Simulation and Visualisation by investigating a new topic known as Conversational Artificial Intelligence (Conversational AI). The INTEL-PA project aims to significantly elevate the believability and usefulness of existing Virtual Humans. The INTEL PA DTC is founded on the academic excellence and operational experience of the Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) – a multi-million-pound EPSRC-funded doctoral training centre operated by FMC for over 10 years, in equal partnership with the University of Bath. Six match-funded PhDs will form two BU CDE cohorts 20/21 and 21/22, tackling the fundamental research issues and applications of the Intelligent Virtual Personal Assistant.

Intelligent Virtual Personal Assistant (Intel-PA) Project

Machine Learning For Discerning Paralingual Aspects of Speech Using Prosodic Cues

Efficient Generation Of Conversational Databases – Conversational AI Technologies For Digital Virtual Humans

Intelligent Dialogue System For Automatic Diagnosis

Editing And Animating Implicit Neural Representations

Emotionally Expressive Speech Synthesis

Common Sense Reasoning For Conversational AI

Continuous Learning In Natural Conversation Generation