Nigel Shadbolt

Sir Nigel Shadbolt
Born Nigel Richard Shadbolt
(1956-04-09) 9 April 1956[1]
London, England
Alma mater
Thesis Constituting Reference in Natural Language: The Problem of Referential Opacity (1986)
Doctoral advisor
  • Barry Richards
  • Henry Thompson[5]
Doctoral students
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Bev Saunders[1]

Sir Nigel Richard Shadbolt FREng[12] CEng CITP FBCS CPsychol (born 9 April 1956)[1] is Principal of Jesus College, Oxford,[13] 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. He has studied and researched Psychology, Cognitive Science, Computational Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Science and the emerging field of Web science.[10][14] He has made significant contributions to all of these disciplines.[3][15][16] 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.[17][18]


Shadbolt was born in London. He studied for an undergraduate degree in philosophy and psychology at Newcastle University.[17] 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.


Shadbolt's research has been in Artificial Intelligence since the late 1970s[3][10][15][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 webscale. 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 some of the most important Semantic Web research of the period, such as how diverse information could be harvested and integrated[29] and how semantics could help computers systems recommend content.

In 2006 Shadbolt became a Fellow[12] of the Royal Academy of Engineering[12] (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 2011-2014 he was Head of the Web and Internet Science Group 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 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.[33][34] 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.[35]

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.

Awards and honours

Personal life

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


  1. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 3 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. 1 2 3 4 Nigel Shadbolt's 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. 1 2 Shadbolt, Nigel Richard (1984). Constituting reference in natural language : the problem of referential opacity (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh.
  6. Smith, Daniel (2011). Exploratory and Faceted Browsing, over Heterogeneous and Cross-Domain Data Sources (PhD thesis). University of Southampton.
  7. Tennison, Jenifer (1999). Living Ontologies: Collaborative Knowledge Structuring on the Internet (PhD thesis). University of Nottingham.
  8. 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.
  9. Tuffield, Mischa (2010). Telling your story: autobiographical metadata and the semantic web (PhD thesis). University of Southampton.
  10. 1 2 3 Nigel Shadbolt at DBLP Bibliography Server
  11. 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.
  12. 1 2 3 4 "List of Fellows".
  13. Jesus College, Oxford. Election of Next Principal. 15 July 2014
  14. 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.
  15. 1 2 Nigel Shadbolt's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  16. "Publications | Nigel Shadbolt". 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  17. 1 2 Curriculum Vitae Nigel Shadbolt
  18. Nigel Shadbolt on Twitter
  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. doi:10.1098/rsta.2003.1250. PMID 14599315.
  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. doi:10.1098/rsif.2006.0125. PMC 1578756Freely accessible. PMID 16849265.
  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. doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0252. PMID 19087929.
  25. Kieron O'Hara (2008). The Spy in the Coffee Machine. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-554-5.
  26. "". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  27. UK Government grants awarded to Nigel Shadbolt, via Research Councils UK
  28. "AKT". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  29. "CS AKTive Space: Representing Computer Science in the Semantic Web". ePrints Soton. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  30. Shadbolt, N.; Berners-Lee, T. (2008). "Web science emerges". Scientific American. 299 (4): 76–81. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1008-76. PMID 18847088.
  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. doi:10.1126/science.1126902. PMID 16902115.
  32. "". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  33. Arthur, Charles (2010-01-21). "The Guardian 21stJan 2010". London. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  34. Berners-Lee, Tim; Shadbolt, Nigel (2010-01-21). "Guardian Data Blog 21st Jan 2010". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  35. "". Retrieved 2013-09-09.
  36. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60534. p. 2. 15 June 2013.
  37. "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
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