Professor Martin grew up in Hampshire before taking up a place at the University of Leeds to study Medicine. After his undergraduate education he completed post-graduate training in Surgery in Yorkshire, concluding as Lecturer in Surgery at the University of Leeds. He then took up the role of Senior Lecturer and Consultant Surgeon at the University of Leeds and the Leeds General Infirmary. His clinical and research interests focussed on gastrointestinal cancer and minimally invasive surgery. During his time in Leeds he developed an ongoing interest in Higher Education more widely.
In 2000 Professor Martin moved to the University of Auckland, New Zealand, as Professor of Surgery. Over the next 13 years, whilst at the University of Auckland, he held a variety of roles including Head of Surgery, Head of the School of Medicine, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and for the last 18 months Deputy Vice Chancellor with responsibility for external and international engagement. In 2012 he moved to the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia as Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, a position he held until his appointment as Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University.