Nigel Shadbolt

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Nigel Shadbolt

Shadbolt in June 2013
Nigel Richard Shadbolt

(1956-04-09) 9 April 1956 (age 68)[7]
London, England
Alma mater
Known for
Beverly Saunders
(m. 1992)
AwardsKnight Bachelor (2013)
Scientific career
ThesisConstituting Reference in Natural Language: The Problem of Referential Opacity (1986)
Doctoral advisor
  • Barry Richards[4]
  • Henry S. Thompson[4]
Doctoral students Edit this at Wikidata

Sir Nigel Richard Shadbolt FRS FREng CITP CEng FBCS CPsychol[7] (born 9 April 1956)[7] is Principal of Jesus College, Oxford,[10] and Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford. He is chairman of the Open Data Institute which he co-founded with Tim Berners-Lee. He is also a visiting professor in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. Shadbolt is an interdisciplinary researcher, policy expert and commentator. His research focuses on understanding how intelligent behaviour is embodied and emerges in humans, machines and, most recently, on the Web, and has made contributions to the fields of Psychology, Cognitive science, Computational neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer science and the emerging field of Web science.[8][11][1][12][13][14]


Shadbolt was born in London but adopted and raised in the Derbyshire village of Ashford-in-the-Water, living a "bucolic existence" until he went to university.[15] He went to Lady Manners School, then a grammar school. He obtained an undergraduate degree in philosophy and psychology at Newcastle University. His PhD degree was received from the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh.[4] His thesis resulted in a framework for understanding how human dialogue is organised and was supervised by Barry Richards[4] and Henry S. Thompson.[4]

Research and career[edit]

Shadbolt's research has been in Artificial Intelligence since the late 1970s[1][8][12][16][17][18] working on a broad range of topics; from natural language understanding and robotics[19] through to expert systems, computational neuroscience, memory[20] through to the semantic web[2] and linked data.[21] 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.[22] 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 web scale. The SOCIAM[23] project on social machines is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).[24]

Nigel Shadbolt speaking at Wikimania 2014

In 1983, Shadbolt moved to the University of Nottingham and joined the Department of Psychology. From 2000 to 2015 he was professor of artificial intelligence in 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).[25] It produced a broad range of Semantic Web research, including how diverse information could be harvested and integrated[26] and how semantics could help computers systems recommend content.

In 2006 Shadbolt was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering[7] (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, Tim Berners-Lee,[27] Wendy Hall and Daniel Weitzner, founded the Web Science Research Initiative, to promote the discipline of Web Science[28] and foster research collaboration between the University of Southampton and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From 2007 to 2011 Shadbolt was deputy head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton, from 2011 to 2014 he was head of the Web and Internet Science Group, the first research group dedicated to the study of Web science and Internet science, within ECS, comprising 140 staff, researchers and PhD students.

His Semantic Web research led to the formation of Garlik,[29] offering identity protection services. In 2008, Garlik was awarded Technology Pioneer status by the Davos World Economic Forum and won the UK BT Flagship IT Award. Experian acquired Garlik in November 2011.[30]

In June 2009 he was appointed together with 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.[31][32] 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 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 Tim Berners-Lee joined the board of advisors of tech startup, creating a network of structured opinions on the semantic web.[33] On 1 August 2015 he was appointed principal of Jesus College, Oxford and a professorial research fellow in the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford.


Nigel Shadbolt at the Royal Society admissions day in London, July 2017
  • 2008–present: Director, Web Science Trust[34]
  • 2010–2015: Chair of Local Public Data Panel, Deptartment of Communities and Local Government.
  • 2011–2014: Chair of UK Midata programme,[35] BIS,[36] appointed by the Minister of State. The Midata programme was an element of the consumer empowerment strategy put in place by the 2010-2015 coalition government.[37]
  • 2012–2016: UK Health Sector Transparency Board, DHS.[38]
  • 2013–2015: UK Research Sector Transparency Board,[39] appointed by Minister of State
  • 2013–2015: UK Information Economy Council, BIS, appointed by Minister of State[40]
  • 2015–2016: Chair, Shadbolt Review of Computer Science Employability[41]
  • 2015–2016: UK French Data Task Force, appointed by Chancellor of Exchequer[42]
  • 2015–present: Member, HMG Digital Advisory Board. Appointed by Minister of State[43]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • 2003 (2003): Won the 2003 International Semantic Web Challenge[44]
  • 2004 (2004): IEEE Computer Society Meritorious Service Award[45]
  • 2004 (2004): IEEE Computer Society Golden Core Award[46]
  • 2009 (2009): Robert Fulton SEIKM Best Paper Award[47]
  • 2010 (2010): Demographics User Group Award with Tim Berners-Lee[48]
  • 2011 (2011): Oxford Internet Institute OII Internet and Society Award
  • 2011 (2011): DSc Honoris Causi, University of Nottingham[49]
  • 2013 (2013): Knighted in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to science and engineering[50][51]
  • 2014: Appointed EPSRC RISE (Recognising Inspirational Scientists and Engineers) Fellow[52]
  • 2016: Elected first Jisc Fellow[citation needed]
  • 2017: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)[7]

Shadbolt was interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili on The Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4 in April 2015.[53] In 2016, he delivered the Hinton Lecture of the Royal Academy of Engineering, entitled "Engineering the Future of Data".[54][7]

Personal life[edit]

Shadbolt is married to Bev Saunders, a designer, and has two children. [7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Nigel Shadbolt publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b c Shadbolt, Nigel; Berners-Lee, Tim; Hall, Wendy (2006). "The Semantic Web Revisited" (PDF). IEEE Intelligent Systems. 21 (3): 96–101. doi:10.1109/MIS.2006.62. S2CID 7719423.
  3. ^ Shadbolt, N.; Burton, A. M. (1989). "The empirical study of knowledge elicitation techniques". ACM SIGART Bulletin (108): 15–18. doi:10.1145/63266.63268. S2CID 16676321.
  4. ^ a b c d e Shadbolt, Nigel Richard (1984). Constituting reference in natural language : the problem of referential opacity (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/8127. OCLC 640172642. EThOS Open access icon
  5. ^ Tennison, Jenifer (1999). Living Ontologies: Collaborative Knowledge Structuring on the Internet (PhD thesis). University of Nottingham. EThOS Free access icon
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Shadbolt, Prof. Nigel Richard". Who's Who (online edition via Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black. 2014. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U245873. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. ^ a b c Nigel Shadbolt at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  9. ^ Middleton, S. E.; Shadbolt, N. R.; De Roure, D. C. (2004). "Ontological user profiling in recommender systems" (PDF). ACM Transactions on Information Systems. 22: 54–88. doi:10.1145/963770.963773. S2CID 9881462.
  10. ^ Jesus College, Oxford. Election of Next Principal. 15 July 2014
  11. ^ Hendler, Jim; Shadbolt, Nigel; Hall, Wendy; Berners-Lee, Tim; Weitzner, Daniel (2008). "Web science: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the web" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. 51 (7): 60. doi:10.1145/1364782.1364798. S2CID 17732407.
  12. ^ a b Nigel Shadbolt publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Publications | Nigel Shadbolt". University of Southampton. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  14. ^ Shadbolt, Nigel and Hampson, Roger (2018), The Digital Ape, Scribe Publications, London, UK ISBN 978-1911344629
  15. ^ Data guardian Sir Nigel Shadbolt on privacy versus freedom, Financial Times, 6 December 2013, John Sunyer.
  16. ^ Huynh, Trung Dong; Jennings, Nicholas R.; Shadbolt, Nigel R. (2006). "An integrated trust and reputation model for open multi-agent systems". Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems. 13 (2): 119–154. doi:10.1007/s10458-005-6825-4. S2CID 13150320.
  17. ^ Alani, H.; Sanghee Kim; Millard, D.E.; Weal, M.J.; Hall, W.; Lewis, P.H.; Shadbolt, N.R. (2005). "Automatic ontology-based knowledge extraction from Web documents". IEEE Intelligent Systems. 18: 14–21. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/MIS.2003.1179189.
  18. ^ Hoffman, Robert R.; Shadbolt, Nigel R.; Burton, A.Mike; Klein, Gary (1995). "Eliciting Knowledge from Experts: A Methodological Analysis" (PDF). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 62 (2): 129–158. doi:10.1006/obhd.1995.1039.
  19. ^ Elliott, T.; Shadbolt, N. R. (2003). "Developmental robotics: Manifesto and application" (PDF). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 361 (1811): 2187–2206. Bibcode:2003RSPTA.361.2187E. doi:10.1098/rsta.2003.1250. PMID 14599315. S2CID 22396580.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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. Bibcode:2009RSPTA.367..991H. doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0252. PMID 19087929.
  22. ^ Kieron O'Hara (2008). The Spy in the Coffee Machine. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1-85168-554-7.
  23. ^ "". Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  24. ^ UK Government grants awarded to Nigel Shadbolt, via Research Councils UK
  25. ^ "AKT". Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  26. ^ "CS AKTive Space: Representing Computer Science in the Semantic Web". ePrints Soton. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  27. ^ Shadbolt, N.; Berners-Lee, T. (2008). "Web science emerges". Scientific American. 299 (4): 76–81. Bibcode:2008SciAm.299d..76S. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1008-76. PMID 18847088.
  28. ^ 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. S2CID 5104030.
  29. ^ "Garlik: A part of Experian". Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  30. ^ "23-12-2011". Experian plc. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  31. ^ Arthur, Charles (21 January 2010). "The Guardian 21stJan 2010". London. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  32. ^ Berners-Lee, Tim; Shadbolt, Nigel (21 January 2010). "Guardian Data Blog 21st Jan 2010". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  33. ^ "". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  34. ^ "Welcome to the Web Science Trust – The Web Science Trust". The Web Science Trust. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  35. ^ "The midata vision of consumer empowerment – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  36. ^ "Department for Business, Innovation & Skills – GOV.UK". 12 September 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  37. ^ "Next steps making midata a reality – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  38. ^ "Health And Social Care Transparency Panel - GOV.UK".
  39. ^ "Research Sector Transparency Board – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  40. ^ "Note of 1st meeting of the Information Economy Council" (PDF). 27 March 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  41. ^ "Shadbolt Review of Computer Sciences Degree Accreditation and Graduate Employability" (PDF).
  42. ^ "Data driven growth: report of the UK-France Data Taskforce | Modernisation". (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  43. ^ "Digital heavyweights to advise government – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  44. ^ Sycara, Katia; Mylopoulis, John (2004). "Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web". Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web. 1 (4): 323–324. doi:10.1016/s1570-8268(04)00020-4.
  45. ^ "IEEE Computer Society Meritorious Service Certificate". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  46. ^ "Golden Core • IEEE Computer Society". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  47. ^ "New approach to industrial web applications wins award". 11 September 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  48. ^ "DUG Awards". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  49. ^ "Summer Graduation 2011 at The University of Nottingham". 1 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  50. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 2.
  51. ^ "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  52. ^ "RISE Awards Announced – EPSRC website". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  53. ^ "Nigel Shadbolt on the worldwide web, The Life Scientific – BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  54. ^ "Engineering the Future of Data". Royal Academy of Engineering. 24 November 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017.