Raoni Rajão

Country of origin: Portugal

Professor of Social Studies of Science & Technology, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Before coming to Lancaster I studied at the University of Milan-Bicocca in Milan, Italy, where I received the Laurea in Informatica (Computer Science) and worked for eight years in the IT industry in Brazil and Italy. I started my career as a programmer, and in recent years moved towards consulting and managerial roles in small and big companies (including Shell and the City of Milan).

When I decided to apply for the MRes ITMOC programme at Lancaster I was expecting to obtain a series of skills that could help me to continue the career transition from technical roles in IT, to managerial positions in the IT industry. However, to my surprise I found much more than a programme crafted to meet a specific market demand.

The programme introduced me to a whole new way of looking at organisations and understanding the role of information technology in organisations. For me, as a computer science graduate and IT professional, this new “social” perspective on IT (where politics, subjective interpretations and culture play a key role in defining organisational outcomes) had the power to challenge the “engineering” worldview in the textbooks of my undergraduate studies. Now, after engaging with both views I can say with confidence that the former has a major advantage over the latter in illuminating the complex socio-technical landscape found in contemporary organisations.

The impact of the programme on my worldview was so strong that it even led me to change my original plans. In order to go deeper into the subjects introduced by ITMOC and to have a chance to contribute myself to the fascinating field of the social aspects of IT, instead of going back to industry I decided to continue my studies towards a PhD in the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology at Lancaster.

My experience at Lancaster has also been gratifying to my personal life. Even though the programme was demanding, I had the opportunity to meet people and have fun! Since Lancaster is a college university and most students live on campus, it feels like one big community. In addition to making friends in my cohort, during the programme I was able to practise my favourite sport, fencing, and travel with the team to different locations in England and Wales to compete for the University. Here for the first time I understood what “student life” really means.

As a result of my research I’ve been invited to take part in a policy evaluation project for the United Nations Development Program and have presented my work to policy-makers on various occasions.

Raoni is now a professor in social studies of science and technology in the Department of Production Engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.