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Professor Sir Alan Wilson FBA, FRS


Sir Alan Wilson is Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. He is currently Chair of the Lead Expert Group for the Government Office for Science Foresight project on the Future of Cities and Chair of the Home Office Science Advisory Council.

He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1991 to 2004 when he became Director-General for Higher Education in the then Department for Education and Skills. Until recently, he was Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2007 and 2013) and he is now a Member of Academia Europaea, a Fellow of the British Academy, an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is responsible for the introduction of a number of model building techniques which are now in common use internationally. His current research, supported by ESRC and EPSRC grants of around £3 million, is on the evolution of cities and the dynamics of global trade and migration. He was knighted for services to higher education in 2001.


  • Applying dynamical systems theory to modelling the evolution of urban structure
  • Developing and applying mathematical models to planning all aspects of cities and regions, including demography, economic input-output modelling, transport and locational structures
  • the evolution of cities and regions
  • the dynamics of global trade and migration