Nigel Gilbert read for a first degree in Engineering, intending to go into the computer industry. However, he was lured into sociology and obtained his doctorate on the sociology of scientific knowledge from the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Michael Mulkay. His research and teaching interests have reflected his continuing interest in both sociology and computer science (and engineering more widely).
His main research interests are processual theories of social phenomena, the development of computational sociology and the methodology of computer simulation, especially agent-based modelling. He is Director of the Centre for Research in Social Simulation.
He is also Director of the University's Institute of Advanced Studies and responsible for its development as a leading centre for intellectual interchange.
He is the author or editor of several textbooks on sociological methods of research and statistics and editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.