Web expert graduate returns to Napier – as professor

A SCOTTISH computer expert based in the United States is to take up a new role at an Edinburgh university.

Edinburgh-born John Howie, now working in Seattle, holds a senior position with Microsoft.

He is a leading force in cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, advises governments and has made keynote speeches at prestigious events including a United Nations conference last year.

Mr Howie has been awarded a professorship at Edinburgh's Napier University in recognition of his contribution to delivering a secure world-wide digital infrastructure. It also recognises his continuing support for the university he attended 20 years ago.

Professor William Buchanan, from Napier's School of Computing, said: "John regularly returns to provide valuable input, industry insight and inspiration to the Edinburgh Napier students. The material he presents also typically gives them a lead over other graduates in this area. He also plays a key role in our knowledge transfer and research activities."

Over the past 12 months, Mr Howie has helped the university boost its funding and engagement with a range of collaborators. These include a proposed development of an e-health cloud between Microsoft and Napier, which builds on existing work to provide an innovative 1.2 million healthcare cloud at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

He said: "The attitude to your former college or university is very different in the States to what it is in the UK. I feel proud to have got my degree from Edinburgh Napier, and privileged to have got it at a time when fees were not required.

"All I am doing is giving something back. The university is involved in the cutting edge of computing and it is gratifying that one of these areas is security, an area very close to my heart and indeed my job."

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