Advisory Committee

Dr Thomas Ahnert

Reader in History and Head of History Subject Area
Dr Thomas Ahnert Dr Ahnert read history at St John’s College in Cambridge, graduating with a PhD in 1999. After working in the Munich office of an international management consultancy firm for some time, he accepted a three-year research fellowship at Edinburgh, which was associated with a project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, on the Science of Man in the Scottish Enlightenment. He was appointed to a lectureship in History in 2005, and subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer and Reader. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Max-Planck Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen. In 2010 – 2011 he was the Rosanna and Charles Jaffin Founders’ Circle Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, with additional support from the Herodotus Fund.


Professor Timothy Bates

Professor of Psychology (Psychology Representative)
Professor Timothy Bates Professor Bates's work is on human ability and personality. As such it spans positive psychology, as well as IQ and traits like optimism. He often uses behaviour and molecular genetic approaches to get at causality. His recent research includes: How social status amplifies IQ; The structure of optimism and of eudaimonic well-being; How education and learning to read (but not reading) raises IQ; and Genetic links of religion and group favoritism.


Professor Sian Bayne

Professor of Digital Education
Prof Sian Bayne Professor Payne is Professor of Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh, based in the Moray House School of Education, and also Assistant Principal for Digital Education. She is the convenor of the Centre for Research in Digital Education, and teaches on the MSc in Digital Education at Edinburgh.


Dr Jane Calvert

Reader in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies
Dr Jane Calvert Dr Calvert works in the area of the sociology of the life sciences, and her current research focuses on attempts to engineer living things in the emerging field of synthetic biology. She has a long-standing interest in interdisciplinary collaborations of all sorts. She draws on the sociology and anthropology of science, the philosophy of biology, and science policy in her work. Dr Calvert has an undergraduate degree in Human Sciences from Sussex and an MSc in the History and Philosophy of Science from the London School of Economics. She did her doctoral work at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, on the idea of 'basic research'. From 2002-2007 she worked as a research fellow at the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis) at the University of Exeter. She joined the University of Edinburgh in 2007.


Professor David Fergusson

Professor of Divinity and Principal of New College
Professor David Fergusson David Fergusson studied philosophy and theology in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Oxford. He worked for several years as a parish minister in the Church of Scotland. Having held the Chair of Systematic Theology in the University of Aberdeen, he returned to Edinburgh as Professor of Divinity in 2000. He was appointed Principal of New College (2008) and is a Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland. From 2009-11, he served as a Vice-Principal of the University of Edinburgh. David has delivered the Bampton Lectures in Oxford (2001), the Gifford Lectures in Glasgow (2008), the Warfield Lectures in Princeton (2009), the Birks Lectures in Montreal (2013) and has lectured widely in the USA, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, South Africa and Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2004) and a Fellow of the British Academy (2013). In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Aberdeen. During the forthcoming academic year (2016-17), he holds a Visiting Fellowship at Princeton Theological Seminary.


Professor Caroline Heycocok

Professor of Syntax (Linguistics and English Language Representative)
Professor Caroline Heycock Professor Heycock's work is in the area of theoretical syntax, with particular reference to English and the other Germanic languages, and to Japanese. The topics that she is interested in tend to be at the borderline of syntax and semantics. Recent and current research topics include reconstruction phenomena, equatives and other copular constructions, particularly pseudoclefts, the syntax and semantics of (especially) nominal conjunction, and syntactic attrition in the native language of advanced learners of a second language. Together with Professor Antonella Sorace and Professor Zakaris Svabo Hansen, she has been working on a 3-year project investigating variation and change in the syntax of Faroese.


Professor Claudio Michelon

Professor of Philosophy of Law
Prof Claudio Michelon Professor Michelon graduated LLB in 1992 from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and in 1996 obtained an M.Phil by research from the same University. He gained his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 2001. From 2001 to 2006 he lived in Brazil and was an assistant professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul while also practicing as a lawyer. He joined Edinburgh Law School in 2007. Claudio Michelon's research focuses on (i) legal reasoning and legal decision-making and (ii) the underlying normative structure of private law doctrines, rules, and concepts.


Professor John Ravenscroft

Professor of Education
Professor John Ravenscroft Professor Ravenscroft's academic background is in in Psychology, and in particular he concerned with issues in Cognition, Language and especially Child Language. After several years working in the Department of Psychology at Edinburgh University, he became the manager of Visual Impairment Scotland, and created the first UK child visual impairment notification system. He also became the Head of the Scottish Sensory Centre and during this tenure he went to Australia for 18 months to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children to develop and create Australia's first visual impairment notification system. Upon his return he became Deputy Head of the Department for Educational Studies. He is currently the Head of the Institute for Education, Teaching & Leadership (ETL).


Professor Barbara Webb

Professor of Biorobotics
Prof Barbara Webb Professor Webb is Director of the Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour, in the School of Informatics. Her main research interest is in perceptual systems for the control of behaviour, through building computational and physical (robot) models of the hypothesised mechanisms. In particular, she focusses on insect behaviours, as their smaller nervous systems may be easier to understand. Recent work includes study of some of the more complex capabilities of insects, including multimodal integration (in crickets and flies), navigation (in ants) and learning (in flies and maggots). She also has an interest in theoretical issues of methodology; in particular the problems of measurement, modeling and simulation.