Professor Nick Jennings CB, FREng is the Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise and Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London. He is an internationally-recognised authority in the areas of AI, autonomous systems, cyber-security and agent-based computing and is a member of the UK government’s AI Council, the governing body of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Policy Committee and the Monaco Digital Advisory Council. Before Imperial, Nick was the UK's first Regius Professor of Computer Science (a post bestowed by the monarch to recognise exceptionally high quality research) at the University of Southampton and the UK Government’s first Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security.
As Vice-Provost, he develops and implements the College’s research and enterprise strategy across all the faculties (Engineering, Natural Sciences, Medicine and the Business School). The strategic aim is to achieve enduring excellence for the benefit of society and Imperial has the greatest concentration of high-impact research of any major UK university. His role is to enhance the quality, impact, management and delivery of the College’s research and innovation. The main areas of focus include nurturing research talent, developing a world-class innovation ecosystem, fostering multidisciplinary research, establishing effective partnerships and ensuring Imperial’s research informs, influences and impacts. He is responsible for the Research Office (which deals with research governance, integrity and ethics; research costing and funding; intellectual property and research contracts; and funder relationships) and Enterprise Division (which deals with industry partnerships; research commercialisation and technology transfer; staff consultancy; student entrepreneurship; the Enterprise Lab, the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace and the White City Incubator; and Imperial Business Partners).
Nick's research focuses on developing AI systems for large-scale, open and dynamic environments. In particular, he is interested in how to endow individual autonomous agents with the ability to act and interact in flexible ways and with effectively engineering systems that contain both humans and software agents. He is passionate about the real-world impact of research and has been involved with deployments of systems in domains such as business process management, smart energy systems, defence, telecommunications, sensor networks, disaster response and citizen science. He is also involved with a number of start-ups including Aerogility, Crossword Cybersecurity, Contact Engine, Darktrace and Reliance Cyber Systems.
In undertaking this research, he has attracted grant income of £32M, published 650 articles (with 370 co-authors) and graduated 49 PhD students (including two winners and one runner-up of the BCS/CPHC Distinguished Dissertation Award). With 80,000 citations and an h-index of 123, he is one of the world's most cited computer scientists (note caveats on such indicators). He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and a founding director of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems.
Nick was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2016 for his services to computer science and national security science. He has received a number of international awards for his research including the Computers and Thought Award and the ACM Autonomous Agents Research Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the British Computer Society, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), the Royal Society of the Arts, the City and Guilds of London Institute, the German AI Institute (DFKI) and the European Artificial Intelligence Association and a member of Academia Europaea.