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Press Release

Two computer contests to inspire young animators and young programmers

Computer scientists from The University of Manchester have launched an animation competition to inspire the next generation of computer experts.

Staff at the School of Computer Science came up with the idea for the UK Schools Computer Animation Competition in 2008, to mark the 60th anniversary of the world's first stored program computer, designed and built in Manchester in 1948.

Now the UK Schools Computer Animation Competition enters its fifth year, with its goal to encourage a greater interest in computing amongst young people.

Youngsters aged between seven and 19 are being challenged to create an animated film, of one minute or less, using the following software packages.

Over 800 schools across the country registered to take part in the 2011 competition, and even bigger numbers are expected this year. Competition winners stand to scoop prizes including laptops, digital cameras and MP3 players and will have their films showcased at a high profile animation festival in July 2012 at The University of Manchester.

Organisers hope that that the competition will give young people a chance to explore computer animation for the first time.

Toby Howard, Director of Undergraduate Studies at the School of Computer Science, said: "The animations might tell a story, or explain or demonstrate a topic or idea. All we ask is that the animations must be inspired in some way by the National Curriculum - but the only limits are students' imaginations.

"Since the launch of the first stored program computer at the University of Manchester over 60 years ago, computing has progressed at an incredible speed.

"That progress is continuing to accelerate and it is certain computing will change the world even further over the next sixty years.

"We need to encourage the brightest and the best of the young generation to engage in the challenges facing computing - not just to use computers, but to invent the next generation of hardware and software.

"And we hope this competition will go some way to raising the profile of computer science amongst children in a fun and exciting way."

Entries, which must be received by Friday 23 March 2012, can be submitted by individuals or teams in four age categories: aged 7-11, 11-14, 14-16 and 16-19.

They will each be reviewed by a panel of judges. And the shortlisted winners will be announced in May 2012.

Animation12 is funded by Google, Electronic Arts, and NESTA, as part of the  UK National Games and Visual Effects Initiative.

New for this year: CODEBREAKER

To celebrate the centenary of Alan Turing’s birthday in 2012, the Computing At School (CAS) group has launched “Codebreaker”, a Greenfoot-based programming competition for school students. A full range of prizes is available for each age group and the competition is free to enter.

CAS are delighted that the Codebreaker competition is being offered as part of the very successful Animation12 run by The University of Manchester and enables students to provide interactive programmed solutions on the theme. 

Simon Humphreys, Coordinator CAS, says “Alan Turing was such an important figure in the history of computing; a national competition aimed at encouraging students to design and implement a programme on the codebreaking theme is a fitting way to celebrate Turing’s life and work at Bletchley Park as one of the WW2 codebreakers.”

Using the Greenfoot IDE, students have to create an interactive program which is linked to theme of “Codebreaker”, either as a game or a puzzle.   It is not intended that the player task is to necessarily break a code - a general link to the theme is sufficient.

For full details of the Codebreaker competition, and Animation12 please visit 

Entries, which must be received by Friday 23 March 2012 can be submitted by individuals or teams in four age categories, ranging from 7 – 19. These will be reviewed by a panel of judges and the shortlisted winners will be announced in May 2012.

Notes to editors

Full details of the competition, and movies and images from last year's Animation11 prize winners, visit

For more information please contact us.


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UK Schools Computer Animation Competition is hosted annually by The University of Manchester, School of Computer Science.