Prof. Dr. Timothy O'Shea

Principal of the University of Edinburgh


Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, born March 28, 1949, in Hamburg, Germany, was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh from October 2002 - February 2018.

After graduating from the University of Sussex (BSc), and the University of Leeds (PhD), he has worked as a researcher in the Computer Science Department of the University of Texas at Austin, the Bionics Research Lab at the University of Edinburgh and the Systems Concepts Lab, Xerox PARC, California. From 1974-1978 he was a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, in the Department of Artificial Intelligence. In 1978 he founded the Computers and Learning Research Group at the Open University and was promoted to a personal chair in Information Technology and Education in 1986. He was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Open University in 1993. In 2004 he was elected Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in 2008 he was knighted in the New Years Honours.

O’Shea received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watts University in 2008.He served as the Chair of Jisc (2009-2013), as Universities Scotland’s Vice Convener (2009-2012), as Chair to the Advisory Committee for the ESRC / EPSRC's Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Research Programme (2009-2013), and as Deputy President of the French Government’s Initiatives d’ Excellence en Formations Innovantes (2011-2012).

Since his appointment as Principal of the University of Edinburgh he has sat on various boards including the Boards of Scottish Enterprise, the Intermediary Technology Institute Scotland Ltd, the British Council, the Governing Body of the Roslin Institute and has been Convenor of the Research and Commercialization Committee of Universities Scotland and Acting Convener of Universities Scotland.

His academic output, produced mainly in collaboration with others and on topics relating to computer based learning, artificial intelligence, and mathematics education, includes 10 books, 22 BBC television programs and over 100 journal articles.