Professor Gary Burnett

BEng Warwick University; MSc Loughborough University; PhD Loughborough University

Pronouns: He/him
  • Professor of Digital Creativity


I am a senior academic in Human Factors/Human-Computer Interaction who started my career at Loughborough University (1992-2000) and then matured it at the University of Nottingham, firstly in Computer Science (2000-2008) and subsequently within the Faculty of Engineering (2008-2023), where I was head of the Human Factors Research Group. In August 2023, I moved to Loughborough University to take on a new role as a Professor of Digital Creativity within the School of Design and Creative Arts.

My research interests have primarily focused on the Human Factors design issues for future vehicles - particularly Human-Machine Interface (HMI) design. This has involved many high-impact collaborations with the automotive industry investigating cutting-edge digital technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR), gesture-based interaction, natural and conversational AI language assistants, and so on. Moreover, much of my research has been conducted within sophisticated immersive Virtual Reality (VR) driving simulator facilities – enabling research to be conducted in a safe, controlled and cost-effective environment.

In parallel, I have advanced my teaching capabilities – especially in the last 3 years where I have innovated considerably in my pedagogy – embracing the potential of emerging Metaverse-related technologies (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality, AI etc.) as a means to educate and socially engage students in exciting and radically new/creative ways. In particular, I have designed and built several fantastical virtual teaching worlds and have acquired valued expertise in how such novel learning spaces can successfully be used in University contexts – reflected by being invited onto a new JISC steering committee focused on the role of Extended Reality (XR) technologies within the Higher Education (HE) sector.

I have received several accolades for this work – including most recently shortlisting for a Times Higher Education award as ‘most innovative teacher of 2022’. I have treated this teaching as a research project, collecting data and writing papers – understanding that there are many basic research questions to address in the optimal use of these novel digital technologies within HE. Fundamentally, my passion to pursue extensive use of Metaverse-related technologies in traditional University teaching is motivated by the awareness that our students must be prepared for an emerging world, whereby our digital work and leisure lives increasingly involve immersive 3D media experienced as an avatar in the first-person.