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From Mock The Week to Sunderland: Meet the University’s new tech mastermind

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Published on 03 May 2021

Professor John Murray
Professor John Murray

From remote learning to working from home, to shopping and socialising - Professor John Murray knows in these uncertain times, one thing is certain: some coronavirus pandemic changes will stick.

John, who has joined the University of Sunderland as the new Academic Dean of the Faculty of Technology, believes Covid-19 has changed the way companies in all sectors and regions will use tech forever.

“Over the last 12 months I think we have learned a lot of lessons,” he said.

“I think we’ve understood how technology can be used to support the way in which our students study, but also the way in which we manage our own work and lives.

“It will have a huge impact on how we return to the workplace. I think there will be a lot more understanding of being able to remote work.

“Industry themselves have looked at this and understood that they do not need to have all their staff under the same roof, nine-to-five, Monday to Friday, and that remote working actually works well and the technology is there to support us.

“I think what we will see is a much more dynamic working environment where we might have people coming and going a bit more freely, generating that work-life balance.”

John has come full circle in his new role at Sunderland, having graduated from the University back in 2006 with a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and Robotics.

His work predominantly looks into human/robot interaction and how we can build trust and work with machines.

John’s research has taken him to the dizzy heights of showbiz, with appearances on Mock The Week, The One Show and It’s Not Rocket Science.

He has also worked with celebrities Jason Bradbury, from the Gadget Show, and Richard Ayoade and Richard E. Grant on Gadget Man.

Now, John hopes his expertise and passion will inspire students at Sunderland to pursue a career in technology.

He said: “Students should be excited because of the prospects and opportunities that will be afforded to them with a degree in technology, either Engineering or Computer Science.

“There are also so many opportunities in other domains in which technology students can take their skills and go and work.

“They can go and work in healthcare, the financial and manufacturing sectors or in project management in helping companies develop technology ideas.

“I think it’s an exciting area, it’s absolutely fantastic.

“I love it, I live and breathe it and I wouldn’t change a thing about my career trajectory through technology and using technology to support where I have got to today.”

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