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Professor Sir Alan Wilson
Room 105
90 Tottenham Court Road
Tel: 020 3108 3901
Fax: 020 3108 3258
Professor Sir Alan Wilson profile picture
  • Honorary Professor
  • Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

Sir Alan Wilson FBA, FAcSS, FRS is Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. He is Chair of the Home Office Science Advisory Council and of the Lead Expert Group for the Government Office for Science Foresight Project on The Future of Cities. He writes the weekly Quaestio blog on research and interdisciplinarity.

He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1991 to 2004 when he became Director-General for Higher Education in the then DfES. From 2007-2013 he was Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He is a Member of Academia Europaea, an FBA, an FAcSS and an FRS. He was knighted in 2001. His recent books include Knowledge power (2010), The science of cities and regions (2012), his five volume (edited) Urban modelling (2012) and (with Joel Dearden) Explorations in urban and regional dynamics (2015). 

Research Themes
Research Summary

Alan was responsible for the introduction of a number of model building techniques which are now in common use internationally – such as the use of ‘entropy’ in building spatial interaction models – summarised in Entropy in urban and regional modelling. He rigorously deployed accounts’ concepts in demography and economic modelling and is now working with dynamical systems theory to model the evolution of urban structure.  His current research, supported by ESRC and EPSRC grants, is on the evolution of cities and the dynamics of global trade, migration, security and development aid. 

For more information on research activities, please follow the link to his web page. 

Teaching Summary

Interdisciplinary research methods (see Knowledge Power published by Routledge in 2010); principles of model building (see The Science of Cities and Regions, published by Springer, in 2012).

2006 – 2007 Master Corpus Christi College Cambridge, United Kingdom
2004 – 2006 Director-General of Higher Education   DfES, United Kingdom
2000 – 2004 Member   Economic and Social Research Council, United Kingdom
2000 – 2003 Chairman   Board of the Worldwide Universities Network, United Kingdom
1999 – 1999 Group member Biotechnology Cluster Group Department for Trade and Industry, United Kingdom
1998 – 2002 Chair Research Policy Group Universities UK, United Kingdom
1996 – 2002 Board member Board of Universities UK Universities UK, United Kingdom
1994 – 2000 Chair Advisory Committee on Document Supply British Library, United Kingdom
1994 – 1996 Member   Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority, United Kingdom
1993 – 1994 Chairman Complaints Review Committee NHS, United Kingdom
1991 – 1993 Chairman   Leeds Schools' Commission, United Kingdom
1991 – 2004 Vice-Chancellor   University of Leeds, United Kingdom
1986 – 1988 Vice-Chairman Environment and Planning Committee Economic and Social Research Council, United Kingdom
1982 – 1985 Vice-Chairman Dewsbury Health Authority NHS, United Kingdom
1979 – 1982 Member Kirklees Area Health Authority NHS, United Kingdom
1970 – 2004 Professor of Urban and Regional Geography   University of Leeds, United Kingdom
1968 – 1970 Assistant Director Centre for Environmental Studies London, United Kingdom
1966 – 1967 Head of the Mathematical Advisory Group   Ministry of Transport, United Kingdom
1964 – 1966 Research Officer Institute of Economics & Statistics Oxford University, United Kingdom
1961 – 1964 Scientific Officer Theoretical Physics Group Rutherford Laboratory, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1966   Master of Arts University of Cambridge
1960   Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge
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