Sir Alan Wilson is Director, Special Projects of The Alan Turing Institute, with responsibility for leading specific research and partnership projects. He was CEO of the Institute between 2016-2018. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Financial Services Culture Board.
He is a Cambridge Mathematics graduate and began his research career in elementary particle physics at the Rutherford Laboratory. He turned to the social sciences, working on cities, with posts in Oxford and London before becoming Professor of Urban and Regional Geography in Leeds in 1970. He was a member of Oxford City Council from 1964-1967. In the late 1980s, he was the co-founder of GMAP Ltd, a University spin-out company. 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. After a brief spell in Cambridge, he joined UCL in 2007. He was Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London up to 2018.
Recently, he was Executive Chair of The Ada Lovelace Institute, Chair of the Home Office Science Advisory Council. From 2007-2013 he was Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council; and from 2013-2015, he was Chair of the Lead Expert Group for the Government Office for Science Foresight Project on The Future of Cities.
He is a Member of Academia Europaea, an FBA, an FAcSS and an FRS. He was knighted in 2001.