Sean Bechhofer

About Me

I'm a Reader in the University of Manchester Department of Computer Science.

I teach on a variety of subjects, currently Computational Thinking and Operating Systems.

I'm primarily focused on Teaching and Scholarship, but in the past my research interests centered around the technologies required to implement and deliver the Semantic Web.


Up to 2004 I worked as a Research Fellow within the department. I was part of WonderWeb, a European project developing ontology infrastructure for the Web. I was also involved with OntoWeb, a European thematic network concerned with Ontologies, and played a passing role in myGrid, an eScience and Grid demonstrator project. Other, more recent projects that I was involved as (co)-investigator included KnowledgeWeb, OntoGrid, Wf4Ever and SCAPE.

Before that I was in a project known as COHSE, funded by the EPSRC under the DIM initiative. This was a joint project with the University of Southampton's Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia group, and was about using ontological services to enhance an open hypermedia system. My first work within Computer Science was as an RA on the GALEN project.

I was active within the W3C, participating in the Working Group that produced the OWL Recommendation, and was an Editor of the SKOS Reference, published in August 2009.

In 2008 I was Programme Co-Chair for the European Semantic Web Conference and served as Research Area Manager of the Knowledge Web network of Excellence for its last two years.

I was an investigator on the Wf4Ever project, which produced early models of Research Objects, now being deployed through various initiatives under the banner of FAIR.

I also explored the use of semantic technologies to support computational musicology, in particular applied to live music archives.

Within the Department, I was Second Year Tutor for two years between 2012 and 2014 and First Year Tutor for five years between 2014 and 2019. I was appointed Directory of Teaching and Learning in the Department (then School) of Computer Science in 2018, moving to the role of Discipline Head of Education under Faculty restructure in 2019. In 2019 I refocused my attentions on Teaching and Scholarship, and was promoted to Reader in 2020. I stepped down from the DHoE role at the end of December 2023.

If you want a better idea of what I look like or want to know what I get up to when I'm not at work, check out my flickr photos.

Ancient History

Originally hailing from Edinburgh, I graduated in 1988 with a Mathematics degree from the University of Bristol, and came to Manchester to do post-graduate work on various topics including Category Theory, Type Theory and Logic. In 1992 I went to work at ICL West Gorton on a Teaching Company Scheme. The project was concerned with developing an object-oriented front end to a network database-based software development environment, and made strong use of the O-O language Eiffel. In November 1993 I joined the Medical Informatics Group (MIG), and became part of the IMG in 1997.