Timothy O'Shea

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Timothy O'Shea
Principal of the
University of Edinburgh
Assumed office
Preceded by The Lord Sutherland of Houndwood
Personal details
Born (1949-03-28) 28 March 1949 (age 72)
Hamburg, Germany
Alma mater
Website ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/principals-office

Sir Timothy Michael Martin O'Shea FRSE (born 28 March 1949,[1] Hamburg, Germany)[2] is the current Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Edinburgh.


O'Shea grew up in London, attended the Royal Liberty School, in Romford, Essex. A computer scientist, he was Master of Birkbeck College from 1998 and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of London from 2001.

A graduate of the Universities of Sussex and Leeds, he has worked in the United States and for the Open University where he founded the Computer Assisted Learning Research Group and worked on a range of educational technology research and development projects, later becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor there. He was a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Department of Artificial Intelligence, from 1974-78.[3]

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, was co-edited with Frank Ritter, Josef Nerb and Erno Lehtinen.

O'Shea became Principal of the University of Edinburgh in October 2002. Since his appointment 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 Commercialisation Committee of Universities Scotland and Acting Convener of Universities Scotland.

In 2004 he was elected Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He was knighted in the 2008 New Year Honours.[4]

Boards and Committees

Since January 2008, O’Shea has been Chair of Jisc (formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee).[5] He is also Chair of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, the Board of Directors of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe,[6] and the Board of Newbattle Abbey College Trust. He sits on the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters,[7] and is currently a member of the German Initiative for Excellence, or 'Excellenzinitiative'.[8]

He has served two terms both as a Trustee of the British Council and as a member of the main Board of Scottish Enterprise. Between 2009 and 2012 he was the Convener of Universities Scotland. He was also served as Deputy President of the French Government’s Initiatives d’ Excellence en Formations Innovantes


  1. "Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 43, 28 March 2014 |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. University of Edinburgh website
  3. University of Edinburgh website
  4. 2008 New Year Honours
  5. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/hefce-announces-new-chair-of-jisc-04-aug-2008
  6. https://www.edfringe.com/news/world-s-largest-ever-arts-festival-comes-to-an-end-with-news-of-new-appointment
  7. http://www.chinese.cn/conference11/node_37099.htm
  8. The University of Edinburgh website
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Sutherland of Houndwood
Principal of the University of Edinburgh