Nigel Shadbolt

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Sir Nigel Richard Shadbolt
Professor Nigel Shadbolt.jpg
Born (1956-04-09) 9 April 1956 (age 58)[1]
London, England
Institutions University of Southampton
Alma mater
Thesis Constituting Reference in Natural Language: The Problem of Referential Opacity (1986)
Doctoral students Daniel A. Smith[3]
Jeni Tennison[4][5]
Mischa Tuffield[6]
Known for Significant Contributions to Artificial Intelligence, Semantic Web and Open Data[7][8][9][10]
Notable awards
Spouse Bev Saunders[1]

Sir Nigel Richard Shadbolt FREng CEng CITP FBCS CPsychol (born 9 April 1956)[1] is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Head of the Web and Internet Science Group at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. He is Chairman of the Open Data Institute,[11] which he co-founded with Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Shadbolt is an interdisciplinary researcher, policy expert and commentator. He has studied and researched Psychology, Cognitive Science, Computational Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Science and the emerging field of Web Science.[12] He has made significant contributions to all of these disciplines.[13] Running through all of this work has been his desire to understand how intelligent behaviour is embodied and emerges in humans, machines and most recently on the Web.[14]


Shadbolt was born in London. He studied for an undergraduate degree in philosophy and psychology at Newcastle University.[14] His PhD was from the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. It resulted in a framework for understanding how human dialogue is organised.


Shadbolt's research has been in Artificial Intelligence since the late 1970s[8][9] working on a broad range of topics - from natural language understanding and robotics[15] through to expert systems, computational neuroscience, memory[16] through to the semantic web[7] and linked data.[17] He also writes on the wider implications of his research. One example is the book he co-authored with Kieron O'Hara that examines privacy and trust in the Digital Age - The Spy in the Coffee Machine.[18] His most recent research is on the topic of social machines – understanding the emergent problem solving that arises from a combination of humans, computers and data at webscale. The SOCIAM[19] project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.[20]


In 1983, Shadbolt moved to the University of Nottingham and joined the Department of Psychology. In 2000, he moved to the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

From 2000 to 2007, he led and directed the Advanced Knowledge Technologies (AKT) Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC).[21] It produced some of the most important Semantic Web research of the period, such as how diverse information could be harvested and integrated[22] and how semantics could help computers systems recommend content.

In 2006 Shadbolt became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng). He is a Fellow of the British Computer Society (FBCS) and was its President in its 50th jubilee year. That same year, Nigel Shadbolt, Sir Tim Berners-Lee,[23] Dame Wendy Hall and Daniel Weitzner, founded the Web Science Research Initiative, to promote the discipline of Web Science[24] and foster research collaboration between the University of Southampton and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2007 Shadbolt became Deputy Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at University of Southampton.

His Semantic Web research led to the formation of Garlik,[25] offering identify protection services. In 2008, Garlik was awarded Technology Pioneer status by the Davos World Economic Forum and won the prestigious UK BT Flagship IT Award. Garlik had over 500,000 users when Experian acquired it in November 2011.

In June 2009 he was appointed together with Sir Tim Berners-Lee as Information Advisor to the UK Government. The two led a team to develop, a single point of access for UK non-personal Governmental public data.[26][27] In May 2010 he was appointed by the UK Coalition Government to the Public Sector Transparency Board responsible for setting open data standards across the public sector and developing the legal Right to Data.

In December 2012, Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee formally launched the Open Data Institute. The ODI focuses on incubating and nurturing new businesses wanting to harness open data, training and promoting standards.

In 2013, Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee joined the board of advisors of tech startup, creating a network of structured opinions on the semantic web.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Sir Nigel is married to Bev Saunders, a designer, and has two children.[1]


  • 2003 (2003) – Won the 2003 International Semantic Web Challenge
  • 2004 (2004) – IEEE Computer Society Meritorious Service Award
  • 2004 (2004) – IEEE Computer Society Golden Core Award
  • 2009 (2009) – Robert Fulton SEIKM Best Paper Award
  • 2010 (2010) – Demographics User Group Award with Tim Berners-Lee
  • 2011 (2011) – Oxford Internet Institute OII Internet and Society Award
  • 2011 (2011) – DSc Honoris Causi, University of Nottingham
  • 2013 (2013) – Knighted in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to science and engineering[29][30]


  1. ^ a b c d "‘SHADBOLT, Prof. Nigel Richard’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012". 
  2. ^ Shadbolt, N.; Burton, A. M. (1989). "The empirical study of knowledge elicitation techniques". ACM SIGART Bulletin (108): 15–18. doi:10.1145/63266.63268.  edit
  3. ^ Smith, Daniel (2011). Exploratory and Faceted Browsing, over Heterogeneous and Cross-Domain Data Sources (PhD thesis). University of Southampton. 
  4. ^ Tennison, Jenifer (1999). Living Ontologies: Collaborative Knowledge Structuring on the Internet (PhD thesis). University of Nottingham. 
  5. ^ Tennison, J.; O'Hara, K.; Shadbolt, N. (2002). "APECKS: Using and evaluating a tool for ontology construction with internal and external KA support". International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 56 (4): 375–422. doi:10.1006/ijhc.2002.1000.  edit
  6. ^ Tuffield, Mischa (2010). Telling your story: autobiographical metadata and the semantic web (PhD thesis). University of Southampton. 
  7. ^ a b Shadbolt, Nigel; Berners-Lee, Tim; Hall, Wendy (2006). "The Semantic Web Revisited". IEEE Intelligent Systems 21 (3): 96–101. doi:10.1109/MIS.2006.62.  edit
  8. ^ a b List of publications from Google Scholar
  9. ^ a b List of publications from the DBLP Bibliography Server
  10. ^ Middleton, S. E.; Shadbolt, N. R.; De Roure, D. C. (2004). "Ontological user profiling in recommender systems". ACM Transactions on Information Systems 22: 54. doi:10.1145/963770.963773.  edit
  11. ^
  12. ^ ^ a b List of publications from Google Scholar ^ a b List of publications from the DBLP Bibliography Server
  13. ^ "Publications | Nigel Shadbolt". 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  14. ^ a b Curriculum Vitae Nigel Shadbolt
  15. ^ Elliott, T.; Shadbolt, N. R. (2003). "Developmental robotics: Manifesto and application". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 361 (1811): 2187–2206. doi:10.1098/rsta.2003.1250. PMID 14599315.  edit
  16. ^ Beagrie, N.; Hall, W.; Hitch, G. J.; Shadbolt, N.; Morris, R.; O'Hara, K. (2006). "Memories for life: A review of the science and technology". Journal of the Royal Society Interface 3 (8): 351–365. doi:10.1098/rsif.2006.0125. PMC 1578756. PMID 16849265.  edit
  17. ^ Hall, W.; De Roure, D.; Shadbolt, N. (2009). "The evolution of the Web and implications for eResearch". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 367 (1890): 991–1001. doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0252. PMID 19087929.  edit
  18. ^ Kieron O'Hara (2008). The Spy in the Coffee Machine. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-554-5. 
  19. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "AKT". Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  22. ^ "CS AKTive Space: Representing Computer Science in the Semantic Web". ePrints Soton. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  23. ^ Shadbolt, N.; Berners-Lee, T. (2008). "Web science emerges". Scientific American 299 (4): 76–81. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1008-76. PMID 18847088.  edit
  24. ^ Berners-Lee, T.; Hall, W.; Hendler, J.; Shadbolt, N.; Weitzner, D. (2006). "Computer Science: Enhanced: Creating a Science of the Web". Science 313 (5788): 769–771. doi:10.1126/science.1126902. PMID 16902115.  edit
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  26. ^ Arthur, Charles (2010-01-21). "The Guardian 21stJan 2010". London. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  27. ^ Berners-Lee, Tim; Shadbolt, Nigel (2010-01-21). "Guardian Data Blog 21st Jan 2010". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  28. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  29. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60534. p. 2. 15 June 2013.
  30. ^ "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 

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