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Our team at Homes for the Future Innovation Centre includes leading expertise from both MOBIE and Northumbria University. Please see biographies for each of our team below.

George Clarke MOBIE

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George Clarke - Founder, MOBIE

George Clarke is an architect and TV presenter. He has set up an independent television production company, Amazing Productions, to focus on factual programming for all the main UK broadcasters. George also enjoys lecturing and is passionate about the way architecture can transform our everyday lives; his aim is to make architecture popular and accessible to everyone.

George is an ambassador for Shelter, The Maggie Centre’s, The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and City & Country Group. George is also patron of Knights Youth Centre, the Civic Trust Awards and passionate supporter of Sunderland Football Club - so much so that he is a Trustee of The Foundation of Light.

Gerry Ruffles MOBIE 

Gerry Ruffles - Head of Education, MOBIE

Gerry is Head of Education for MOBIE with responsibility for MOBIE's range of Advanced Home Futures courses, training programmes their delivery and educational development. He joined MOBIE after twenty five years in Higher Education lecturing and running courses in Construction and Built Environment, Design and Architecture, with a passion to excite, motivate and prepare young people for careers in innovative home creation. 

After a degree in Industrial Design at Northumbria University Gerry worked in product, furniture and interior design in both the private and public sector before establishing a Design and Build company delivering new builds, conversions, restorations, design and project management. Whilst practising as a designer he gained membership of the Chartered Society of Designers and for several years was the Chair of the North East Region of the CSD and later Chair of the Societies Regional Board.

He recently completed a five year role as External Examiner at Liverpool John Moores University, for their BA Hons Product Design, Spatial Design and 3-D Digital Design courses.  For a number of years he has been a writer for Pearson contributing to their BTEC and HN Level 3 and 4 Construction and Built Environment programmes as well as the new MOBIE/Pearson Future Home Design and Construction HNC and HND.

Mark Southgate MOBIE 

Mark Southgate - CEO, MOBIE

Mark Southgate joined as Chief Executive of MOBIE in November 2018. Mark is a chartered town planner with over 30 years’ experience in planning, environment and management roles in local government, non-governmental organisations and central government agencies.

Most recently he was Director of Major Casework at The Planning Inspectorate with responsibility for planning inquiries, plan examinations and nationally significant infrastructure planning applications, and he lead on workforce planning and customer engagement and experience.  He has previously worked in various policy, operational and management roles at Tonbridge and Malling Council in Kent, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Environment Agency.

Mark is a Trustee of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and he has previously been a Trustee of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Mark was a member of the Advisory Group to Kate Barker on her review of land use planning and the Lawton Review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Networks.  He is a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellow, following his visit to study New Zealand’s environmental planning system. 

Paul Jones NU and MOBIE 

Prof. Paul Jones - Professor of Scholarship in Architecture, Northumbria University, Director, Homes for the Future Innovation Centre

Professor Paul Jones is an architect and academic; his research spans wellbeing, sustainability and place-making. He has designed award winning building and competition entries, as well as authoring books and journal papers on his interest areas. He leads the university’s design research group in architecture, having had outstanding success in international design competitions, winning- or being placed- in 12 out of the 18 he has entered. This success has led to important building commissions and exhibitions. He has had his design work exhibited in prestigious venues around the world, including the Lincoln Centre New York, and the Palazzo Isimbardi in Milan.

Paul is the Director of the Future Homes Innovation centre with MOBIE (George Clarke’s charity) established to improve the quality and perceived value of housing in the UK. This centre part funds five PhD students a year (over 3 years) to work with industrial partners committed to improving housing.

Paul is currently collaborating with Building Design North on 12 individually designed houses in Sunderland that are exemplars in sustainability, utilising innovative construction techniques and promoting biodiversity. With the same practice he is designing the first Bradley Lowery House; this high-profile project is conceived as a new holiday-home typology for families who have children with life-threatening, shortening or compromising medical conditions. This house is designed to wellbeing principles and is an ultra-low energy house.  Paul holds the highest awards in teaching: he is a National Teaching Fellow (only 50 are awarded each year out of 180000 UK university academics) he is also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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