Timothy O'Shea

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Professor Timothy O'Shea became Principal of the University of Edinburgh in October 2002.

Professor O’Shea is a member of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and sits on the Boards of Universities UK, the Intermediary Technology Institute Scotland Ltd., is a member of the Governing Body of the Roslin Institute and is Convener of the Research and Commercialisation Committee of Universities Scotland.

Edinburgh University's website notes:

Timothy O'Shea was born in Hamburg in 1949 and started writing machine learning computer programs while at the Royal Liberty School. He obtained a BSc in Mathematics and Experimental Psychology from Sussex and a PhD in Computer Based Learning from Leeds University. He worked as a researcher in the Computer Science Department of the University of Texas at Austin, the Bionics Research Lab, Edinburgh and the Systems Concepts Lab, Xerox PARC. He founded the Computers and Learning Research Group at the Open University in 1978. He was promoted to an Open University personal chair in Information Technology and Education in 1986 and was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 1993. In 1997 he was elected Master of Birkbeck and subsequently appointed Provost of Gresham College and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, holding the three posts concurrently until he returned to Edinburgh as Principal in 2002.
His current board memberships include Scottish Enterprise and the British Council and he is Convener of the Universities Scotland Funding Strategy Group. He is a Director of the Scottish Parliament's Futures Forum, the Higher Education Academy, and the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters. His fellowships are from Birkbeck, the University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the European Co-ordinating Committee on Artificial Intelligence. The most translated of his ten books is ‘Learning and Teaching with Computers’ co-authored with John Self and his most recent 2007 book ‘In Order to Learn’ published by Oxford University Press is co-edited with Frank Ritter, Josef Nerb and Erno Lehtinen. The most successful public presentation is probably his 1985 BBC TV series ‘The Learning Machine’ and in 2007 a keynote speech on ‘New Models for Social and Personal Computing’ was delivered with Professor Eileen Scanlon to the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies in Niigata, Japan. Professor O'Shea was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's 2008 New Year's Honours List in recognition of his services to higher education.[1]



  1. University of Edinburgh The Principal's Office Homepage, accessed 27 April 2008.