Cousins, who studied at the London Contemporary Dance School, will be granted an amount of money (in excess of £15,000) to work on his choreographic skills over a period of 12 months.
He will have the chance to be mentored by Bourne and other New Adventures associate artists to research and develop a programme of work with a company of New Adventures dancers. A showcase of his work will be performed at the end of the year.
The judges, who were "bowled over by the standard" of applications, also decided to create a runner-up prize which has been awarded to 19-year-old Tom Jackson Greaves.
Nearly 100 aspiring choreographers applied for the award that was created by colleagues and friends in celebration of Matthew Bourne’s 50th birthday last year.
Bourne said: "James Cousins is a highly talented choreographer at the beginning of his career. A recent graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School, the judges were impressed by his ambitions to form his own company and his refreshing desire to entertain."
He added: "Through reading the applications it was obvious to me how needed this, and other such awards, have become for young choreographers. I’m therefore thrilled to announce, today, that we will be presenting our next NACA award in 2013."