Aside from a few months in a ‘real job’, of which he hated every minute, Vic Grout has worked in academia all his life. He has degrees in mathematics and computing and a doctorate in engineering. He has worked as a research assistant, research fellow, lecturer, senior lecturer, external examiner, head of department, associate dean, reader and professor. Over four decades he has studied, taught and examined in higher education in Exeter, Plymouth, Oxford, Cambridge, Bedford, Bolton, Bradford, Preston, Middlesbrough, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Germany, Bangladesh and Singapore – and probably a few more that he’s forgotten. His role on retirement from Wrexham Glyndŵr University was ‘professor of computing futures’, having previously been ‘professor of network algorithms’. From the inspirational to the idiotic, it’s perhaps an exaggeration to say that he’s ‘seen it all’ but he’s certainly seen more than most!
And there was a time when he took it all seriously! Alas the university world is ultimately too ridiculous for that these days. Until a few years ago, Professor Grout was chair of the Welsh Council of Professors and Heads of Computing, a fellow of four separate learned bodies (Royal Society of Arts, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, Institute of Engineering and Technology and British Computer Society) and held chartered status across four different academic disciplines (Chartered Scientist, Chartered Mathematician, Chartered I.T. Professional and Chartered Engineer twice over). But then he had a moment of clarity, stopped paying his annual subscriptions and bought a new guitar instead. Having written a few research texts over the years, he tried his hand at fiction. His first sci-fi novel, Conscious, was published in 2017 with reviews such as, ‘A cracking rollercoaster of a read’, ‘an intriguing and deep techno-thriller’, ‘very interesting and eloquently written’ and ‘This book is everything that’s wrong with modern sci-fi’.
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