The academic team are primarily responsible for delivering the programme in association with our industrial partners.

Professor Sue Black

Principal Investigator


Professor Alexandra Cristea



Johanna Waite

Project Manager


Dr Elena Gorman

Assistant Project Manager


Dr Fawada Qaiser

Digital Content Developer and Delivery Lead


Sharon Boxer

Digital Communications and Engagement Officer


Sophie Banerji

TechUPOnline Administrator


Priyatha Bethapudi

Skills Bootcamp in Software Engineering Tutor


Tahir Aduragba

Skills Bootcamp in Data Engineering Tutor


Team Bios

Durham University

Sue Black

An award winning Computer Scientist, Technology Evangelist and Digital Skills Expert, Professor Sue Black was awarded an OBE for “services to technology” in the 2016 Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. She is Professor of Computer Science and Technology Evangelist in the Department of Computer Science at Durham University, a UK government advisor, thought leader, Trustee at Comic Relief, social entrepreneur, writer and public speaker. Sue set up the UK’s first online network for women in tech BCSWomen in 1998 and led the campaign to save Bletchley Park. Sue’s first book Saving Bletchley Park details the social media campaign she led to save Bletchley Park from 2008-2011, it has been an Amazon UK bestseller.

Sue didn’t have a traditional start to her career. She left home and school at 16, married at 20 and had 3 children by the age of 23. A single parent at 25 she went to university, gained a degree in computing then a PhD in software engineering. Sue now has 4 children and 3 grandchildren.

Alexandra Cristea


Alexandra I. Cristea is Professor, Head of the Innovative Computing research group at the Computer Science Department, Durham University. Her research includes user modelling and personalisation, web science, learning analytics, semantic web, social web, authoring, with over 250 papers on these subjects. She is within the top 50 researchers in the world in the area of educational computer-based research according to Microsoft Research. Prof. Cristea has been highly active and has an influential role in international research projects. She is experienced in running research projects and has been the organizer of workshops, co-organizer, panelist and program committee member of various conferences in her research field (including, for example, UMAP, ED-MEDIA, Hypertext, Adaptive Hypermedia, ICCE, ICAI). She is a member of the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, executive peer reviewer of the IEEE LTTF Education Technology and Society Journal and she was co-editor of the Advanced Technologies and Learning Journal. She acted as UNESCO expert for adaptive web-based education at a high-level (Ministry of Education and Educational institutes) meeting of East European countries, educational invited expert for the Romanian prime minister, as well as EU expert for H2020, FP7, FP6, eContentPlus. She is a BCS fellow, a HEA fellow, IEEE Senior Member and IEEE CS member, EATEL (European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning) founding member, ACM member.

Johanna Waite

Johanna has over 8yrs experience in Project Management across Engineering, Energy and Nuclear, Heritage, Charity and Higher Education sectors. Specialising in non-profit and community projects, Johanna joined the University from Durham Cathedral where she worked on the Open Treasure project.

Johanna also volunteers with the National Childbirth Trust coordinating local fund raising events.

Elena Gorman

Elena has over 12 years’ experience of working in higher education. After completing her PhD at Durham University in 2009, she worked in various roles in higher education, including managing projects and partnerships, working in quality assurance, and managing access and outreach activities.

For the past 4 years, Elena has worked in tech-related roles in higher education. In 2018, Elena managed Northumbria University’s projects for Creative Fuse North East: a regional collaboration that is using action research to strengthen and grow the creative, digital and IT sectors in the North East of England.

In 2019, Elena moved to Newcastle University, where she managed the University’s new strategic partnership with The Alan Turing Institute: the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. Working within the University’s Digital Institute, she helped to set up the new Centre of Research Excellence in Data. In this role, Elena also set up Newcastle’s first #techmumsClub in collaboration with the social enterprise #techmums.

Dr Fawada Qaisar

Fawada has a PhD degree in engineering from the University of Durham and has research interests in Evolutionary computing, software engineering, machine learning, and Data analysis.

Fawada has worked as a Lecturer and Software engineer for over 12 years and enjoys being in research and teaching as well as part of technical projects.

Sharon Boxer

Sharon started her career in Financial Services working for HSBC Private Banking in London.  Opportunity and the love of adventure saw her spend 10 years living overseas, enjoying the cultural diversity of Belgium, Brazil and the Netherlands.

Midlife brought another opportunity for adventure.  With the pace of digital transformation accelerating, and not one to miss out, Sharon started retraining and upskilling to be part of the Tech future.

Sharon is now responsible for the digital communications and engagement for the TechUP project, managing all social media channels and the website.

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