Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor John Fitzgerald

Head of the School of Computing


John Fitzgerald is a specialist in rigorous model-based design techniques for the design of cyber-physical systems and systems-of-systems. He has been leading for the School on the design of the Urban Sciences Building - the first major university building at Newcastle Science Central - a new home for all our research and teaching activities from autumn 2017. John has served as Director of Research (to 2015), Director of the Centre for Software Reliability, and Deputy Head (to 2017) of the school of Computing. Since August 2017, he has been Head of the newly constituted School of Computing. 

John studied formal proof (PhD, Manchester Univ.), before joining Newcastle University, where he worked on design techniques for avionic systems with British Aerospace in the 1990s. He went on to study the potential for industrial application of formal modelling (specifically the Vienna Development Methods - VDM) as a SERC Fellow and later as a Lecturer at Newcastle. He established the design and validation team at Transitive, a successful SME in the embedded processor market before returning to the University in 2003. 

John recently completed a decade as Chair of FME, the main European body bringing together researchers and practitioners in rigorous methods of systems development. He is a Fellow of the BCS, and a member of the EPSRC College, the ACM, IEEE and INCOSE.


In my research, I develop model-based methods and tools to help in the design of particularly challenging types of product, especially systems that require collaboration between engineering teams of differing backgrounds and disciplines.

My group here in Newcastle undertakes groundbreaking research into co-modelling and co-simulation in the design of trustworthy embedded systems (in the DESTECS project and in the EPSRC platform grants on Trustworthy Ambient Systems). Our work in the Deploy project concentrated on achieving and demonstrating dependability through the deployment of formal methods in four industry sectors. In 2011-2014 I led the international COMPASS project, developing technology for engineering complex "Systems-of-Systems" that are built from pre-existing systems that might never have been designed with collaboration in mind. These strands of work come together in the work that I now lead on multi-modelling methods in the INTO-CPS project. 

The impact of my group's research has been felt in the development of model-based engineering methods that have been successfully applied in areas as diverse as firmware design and options trading. We play a leading role in one of the first EU Horizon 2020 Innovation Actions, CPSELabs, in which we provide funding and research support to small industry-led consortia wanting to experiment with new design technology in order to develop new products, complete value chains, or transfer experience from one domain to another. 

Our team is playing a key role in two EU Horizon 2020 Support Actions in the area of Cyber-Physical Systems. In TAMS4CPS we are developing a research agenda for Transatlantic cooperation on modelling and simulation for CPSs, while in Road2CPS developed roadmaps, constituencies of interest and mechanisms to multiply the impact of CPS research. 

My current doctoral students include:


Postgraduate Teaching

I founded the MSc in Computer Security and Resilience. Within the programme, I still contribute to the following modules:

  • CSC8206: Group Project
  • CSC8299: Individual Project in Computer Security & Resilience 

Undergraduate Teaching 

I currently teach on:

  • CSC3323: Software Verification Technology