Nigel Shadbolt

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Sir Nigel Shadbolt
Professor Nigel Shadbolt.jpg
Born Nigel Richard Shadbolt
(1956-04-09) 9 April 1956 (age 61)[1]
London, England
Alma mater
Thesis Constituting Reference in Natural Language: The Problem of Referential Opacity (1986)
Doctoral advisor
Doctoral students
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Beverly Saunders (m. 1992)[1]

Sir Nigel Richard Shadbolt FRS FREng CITP CEng FBCS CPsychol[11][12][13] (born 9 April 1956)[1] is Principal of Jesus College, Oxford,[14] 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 Sir 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.[9][15][3][16][17]


Shadbolt was born in London but raised in the Derbyshire village of Ashford-in-the-Water, living a "bucolic existence" until he went to university.[18] He studied for an undergraduate degree in philosophy and psychology at Newcastle University. His PhD was from the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh.[5] His thesis resulted in a framework for understanding how human dialogue is organised.

Research and career[edit]

Shadbolt's research has been in Artificial Intelligence since the late 1970s[3][9][16][19][20][21] working on a broad range of topics - from natural language understanding and robotics[22] through to expert systems, computational neuroscience, memory[23] through to the semantic web[2] and linked data.[24] 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.[25] 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[26] project on social machines is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).[27]

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).[28] It produced a broad range of Semantic Web research, including how diverse information could be harvested and integrated[29] and how semantics could help computers systems recommend content.

In 2006 Shadbolt became a Fellow[13] of the Royal Academy of Engineering[13] (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,[30] Dame Wendy Hall and Daniel Weitzner, founded the Web Science Research Initiative, to promote the discipline of Web Science[31] 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,[32] 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.[33]

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.[34][35] 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.[36]

On 1 August 2015 he became Principal of Jesus College, Oxford and a Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford.

He was featured on The Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4 in April 2015.[37]

In 2016, he delivered the Hinton Lecture of the Royal Academy of Engineering, entitled "Engineering the Future of Data".[38]

In 2017, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society.[13][12]

Awards and honours[edit]


  • 2008–present: Director, Web Science Trust[44]
  • 2010–2015: Chair of Local Public Data Panel, Dept. of Communities and Local Government. 
  • 2011–2014: Chair of UK Midata programme,[45] BIS,[46] appointed by Minister of State[47]
  • 2012–2016: UK Health Sector Transparency Board, DHS.
  • 2013–2015: UK Research Sector Transparency Board,[48] appointed by Minister of State
  • 2013–2015: UK Information Economy Council, BIS, appointed by Minister of State
  • 2015–2016: Chair, Shadbolt Review of Computer Science Employability
  • 2015–2016: UK French Data Task Force, appointed by Chancellor of Exchequer[49]
  • 2015–present: Member, HMG Digital Advisory Board. Appointed by Minister of State[50]

Personal life[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b c d SHADBOLT, Prof. Nigel Richard. Who's Who. 2014 (online edition via Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  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. 
  3. ^ a b c d Nigel Shadbolt publications indexed by Google Scholar
  4. ^ Shadbolt, N.; Burton, A. M. (1989). "The empirical study of knowledge elicitation techniques". ACM SIGART Bulletin (108): 15–18. doi:10.1145/63266.63268. 
  5. ^ a b Shadbolt, Nigel Richard (1984). Constituting reference in natural language : the problem of referential opacity. (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. OCLC 640172642. hdl:1842/8127.  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ Tennison, Jenifer (1999). Living Ontologies: Collaborative Knowledge Structuring on the Internet (PhD thesis). University of Nottingham. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Tuffield, Mischa (2010). Telling your story: autobiographical metadata and the semantic web (PhD thesis). University of Southampton. 
  9. ^ a b c Nigel Shadbolt at 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. 
  11. ^ a b "Nigel Shadbolt". Retrieved 5 May 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d Anon (2017). "Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt Kt FREng FRS". London: Royal Society. Retrieved 5 May 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f "List of Fellows". 
  14. ^ Jesus College, Oxford. Election of Next Principal. 15 July 2014
  15. ^ 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). doi:10.1145/1364782.1364798. 
  16. ^ a b Nigel Shadbolt publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Publications | Nigel Shadbolt". University of Southampton. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Data guardian Sir Nigel Shadbolt on privacy versus freedom, Financial Times, 6 December 2013, John Sunyer.
  19. ^ "An integrated trust and reputation model for open multi-agent systems". Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems. 2006. doi:10.1007/s10458-005-6825-4. 
  20. ^ "Automatic ontology-based knowledge extraction from Web documents". IEEE Intelligent Systems. 2005. doi:10.1109/MIS.2003.1179189. 
  21. ^ "Eliciting Knowledge from Experts: A Methodological Analysis". Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 1995. doi:10.1006/obhd.1995.1039. 
  22. ^ 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. Bibcode:2003RSPTA.361.2187E. PMID 14599315. doi:10.1098/rsta.2003.1250. 
  23. ^ 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. PMC 1578756Freely accessible. PMID 16849265. doi:10.1098/rsif.2006.0125. 
  24. ^ 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. PMID 19087929. doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0252. 
  25. ^ Kieron O'Hara (2008). The Spy in the Coffee Machine. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-554-5. 
  26. ^ "". Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  27. ^ UK Government grants awarded to Nigel Shadbolt, via Research Councils UK
  28. ^ "AKT". Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "CS AKTive Space: Representing Computer Science in the Semantic Web". ePrints Soton. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  30. ^ Shadbolt, N.; Berners-Lee, T. (2008). "Web science emerges". Scientific American. 299 (4): 76–81. PMID 18847088. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1008-76. 
  31. ^ 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. PMID 16902115. doi:10.1126/science.1126902. 
  32. ^ "ACTUAL ARTICLE TITLE BELONGS HERE!". Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  33. ^ "23-12-2011". Experian plc. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  34. ^ Arthur, Charles (21 January 2010). "The Guardian 21stJan 2010". London. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  35. ^ Berners-Lee, Tim; Shadbolt, Nigel (21 January 2010). "Guardian Data Blog 21st Jan 2010". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  36. ^ "". Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  37. ^ "Nigel Shadbolt on the worldwide web, The Life Scientific – BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  38. ^ "Engineering the Future of Data". Royal Academy of Engineering. 24 November 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  39. ^ "Golden Core • IEEE Computer Society". Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  40. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 2. 
  41. ^ "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  42. ^ This information (relating to Nigel Shadbolt's Knighthood) was added in June 2013 by Thwaites Communications Ltd.
  43. ^ "RISE Awards Announced – EPSRC website". Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  44. ^ "Welcome to the Web Science Trust – The Web Science Trust". The Web Science Trust. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  45. ^ "The midata vision of consumer empowerment – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  46. ^ "Department for Business, Innovation & Skills – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  47. ^ "Next steps making midata a reality – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  48. ^ "Research Sector Transparency Board – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  49. ^ "Data driven growth: report of the UK-France Data Taskforce | Modernisation". (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  50. ^ "Digital heavyweights to advise government – GOV.UK". Retrieved 27 April 2017.