Nigel Gilbert

Director CRESS, Professor, CBE, PhD (Camb), ScD (Camb), FBCS, CEng, FAcSS, FREng

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Professor Nigel Gilbert was one of the first to use agent-based models in the social sciences, in the early 1990s, and has since published widely on the methodology underlying computer modelling, and on the application of simulation for applied problems such as understanding commercial innovation, managing environmental resources such as energy and water, forecasting price movements in the English housing market, and supporting public policy decision-making.

He has contributed to public affairs in a number of roles, including as a Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, as a member of the DEFRA Social Science Expert Group, and of the Future and Emerging Technologies Advisory Board of the European Commission’s Horizon 2002 programme.  He is a member of the ESRC Council and has chaired and been a member of numerous committees for the UK Research Councils. 

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2016 for services to engineering and the social sciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Computer Society, and the Academy of the Social Sciences, and is a Chartered Engineer.

Professor Gilbert has been the Principal Investigator of 61 research grants and contracts, receiving funding totalling over £17 million.  He is currently the Director of the ESRC funded Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN), which brings together UK, European and US mathematicians, computer scientists, environmental scientists and social scientists to develop and test methods for the evaluation of complex public policies.  A common feature of almost all the projects in which he has been involved is that they are multi-disciplinary and collaborative, bringing together social scientists, public sector and civil society organisations.

He founded and is Director of the Centre for Research in Social Simulation at the University of Surrey. The Centre has contributed new knowledge in a wide range of areas at the interface between engineering, public policy and the social sciences, including inter alia, understanding processes of innovation in high-tech industrial sectors, the unanticipated consequences of fiscal policies to promote the installation of solar panels, the dynamics of extortion racket systems such as the Mafia, and the behavioural aspects of household energy demand.

He was a Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey for eight years and now has a Research Chair there.  He has been on the Board of Directors of three start-up companies and has founded two successful academic journals.