Dr Mike Simpson is a Research Software Engineer working for the RSE Team in the Digital Institute. He graduated with a BSc in Computing from Newcastle University in 2008, followed by an MSc in Computer Games Engineering in 2009. He worked as a Game Programmer at a local studio for two years before returning to the university to start his PhD in 2011. His thesis was titled “Real-time Simulation of Rail Vehicle Dynamics” and involved using software and development practices from the game industry to develop and evaluate real-time 3D engineering simulations.

Since joining the Digital Institute in 2016, he developed software applications for a number of research projects, including projects with the NHS and the Alan Turing Institute. He has presented his work at a number of events, including the international Blender conference in Amsterdam, the UK RSE Conference and the IEEE e-Science Conference in Auckland, NZ.

His research interests include the application of games industry technologies for other applications - such as gamification in education and healthcare - as well as virtual simulation and data visualisation. He also has experience of 3D graphics, web development and software engineering in a range of programming languages. His other interests include Photography and 3D modelling, as well as reading and writing fiction. He also runs a blog where he discusses issues ranging from Video Games to Mental Health.


  • Synthetic Images for Machine Learning / Urban Observatory, TRACK (Transport Risk Assessment for COVID Knowledge) Project

    • Modelling virtual transport vehicles in Blender
    • Writing code to populate the vehicles with virtual passengers and render the results
    • Train Machine Learning models with the synthetic images
    • Evaluate the effect of the training on the results
  • Precision Diabetes / The Alan Turing Institute, British Heart Foundation, University of Exeter, University College London

    • Developing a classification tool to help select diabetes patients for trials and studies
    • Improving an existing diabetes treatment tool with additional information, including visualisation of risk
    • Working with a massive dataset from the BHF to look at links between heart disease, diabetes and COVID-19
  • Rome Transformed / Newcastle University School of History, Classics and Archaeology

    • Augmenting and adjusting an existing software solution to suit the needs of the RomeTransformed project
    • Collaborating with Archaeologists to support the documentation and discussion of archaeological evidence from sites in Rome
  • Degree Apprenticeship in Software Engineering / Newcastle University School of Computing & The Institute of Coding

    • Module leader on 'Introduction of Software Development'
    • Creating material and supporting the move to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • General support for Degree Apprentices, many of whom were learning programming for the first time.
  • Automating Data Visualisation / Visualisation of Uncertainty / Prof. Nick Holliman (Newcastle University School of Computing) and The Alan Turing Institute

    • Developing new data visualisation plug-ins for PowerBI
    • Creating engaging visualisations of air quality data using Blender
    • Development of a pipeline to process and visualise data automatically using Blender
    • Creating and evaluating new techniques for visualising uncertainty in data
  • ePRaSE / Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust

    • Lead RSE developing the prototype for the application in collaboration with researchers and pharmacists
  • CARA / School of Education, Communication & Language Sciences

    • Development of new features
    • Bug fixing and finalising application for deployment.


PhD / Newcastle University


Developed and evaluated a real-time rail engineering simulation using software from the video games industry, in collaboration with NewRail.


  • Programming:
    • Python
    • C++
    • Java
    • JavaScript
  • Software:
    • Blender
    • PowerBI
    • WordPress
    • Photoshop
    • OpenGL
    • PhysX
  • Topics:
    • Data Visualisation
    • 3D Graphics
    • Virtual Simulation
    • Video Game Development
    • Gamification (i.e. in Education/Healthcare)


  • I enjoy:
    • Reading/Writing
    • Video Games
    • Photography
    • 3D Modelling