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Professor Sir Alan Wilson
Room 105
90 Tottenham Court Road
London
W1T 4TJ
Tel: 020 3108 3901
Fax: 020 3108 3258
Appointment
  • Professor of Urban Regional Systems
  • Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
  • Faculty of the Built Environment
Biography

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 GO-Science Foresight Project on the Future of Cities. He 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. 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, and a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Royal Society. He was knighted in 2001. His recent books include Knowledge power, published in 2010, The science of cities and regions and his five volume (edited) Urban modelling, both in 2013. Explorations in urban and regional dynamics: a case study in complexity science (with Joel Dearden) will be published by Routledge in 2015.

Research Themes
Research Summary

Many aspects of mathematical modelling and the use of models in planning in relation to all aspects of cities and regions - including demography, economic input-output modelling, transport and locational structures. These techniques are now in common use internationally – including the use of the concept of entropy in building spatial interaction models – summarised in Entropy in urban and regional modelling (re-issued in 2011). These models have been widely used in areas such as transport planning, demography and economic modelling. More recently, the applications of dynamical systems theory in relation to modelling the evolution of urban structure. This led to the laying of the foundations of a comprehensive theory of urban dynamics described in Complex spatial systems. He is currently PI on a £2.5M EPSRC project on global dynamics.

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

http://alan.blogweb.casa.ucl.ac.uk/
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).

Appointments
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 MA Master of Arts University of Cambridge
1960 BA Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge
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