Dr Mike Simpson is a Research Software Engineer working for the Newcastle University RSE Team. 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 a number of 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. He has also taught ‘Introduction to Software Development’ on the Institute of Coding’s Degree Apprenticeship in Software Engineering. He has also been involved in the wider RSE community, including being a member of the organising committee for the 2022 RSE Conference.

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 a range of topics from Video Games to Mental Health.


  • Colouring Cities / Alan Turing Institute, Colouring Cities Research Programme

    • Adding new features to the Colouring London application/website
    • Working on creating of a Colouring Cities shared codebase
    • Collaborating with other international groups to add to the Colouring Cities projects
  • RSA Journal Data Analysis / Professor Rachel Franklin

    • Analysis of RSA Journal Data between 2018 and 2020 to study the effect of hte pandemic on publications by female academics.
    • Creating visualisations of the results of the analysis.
  • DOLFIN / Professor Jeremy Parr, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals (NHS Foundation Trust), Oxford University NPEU

    • Development of an Android/iOS app to collect data for a Clinical Trial
  • 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
  • Business School Microsoft Certification Analysis / Gill Holden, Newcastle University Business School

    • Analysis of student uptake of Microsoft Certification and other optional training course.
    • Visualisation of the results in Power BI, including the impact of the training courses on other results.
  • Asteroid Game Translations / Jenny Read, Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences

    • Adding the ability to change language in a Unity game that was previously developed in English.
    • Tested by adding Spanish and Chinese as languages to the game.
  • 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
    • Unity
  • 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