Staff news

Jeffrey Collins (1930-2015)

Colleagues in the College of Science and Engineering remember Professor Jeffrey H. Collins, Electrical Engineer and pioneer in analogue signal processing.

Jeffrey Collins

Jeff Collins was recruited to the University of Edinburgh in 1970. He brought expertise in the emerging field of surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices, securing significant financial support for the University. In this era, before digital signal processing, these analogue devices offered a unique way to implement complex receiver designs.

The ultimate success of Collins’ early vision to establish signal processing at the University is still in evidence today. A 140-person joint research institute in signal and image processing between the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University remains the largest such research activity in the UK.

Professor Collins was extremely influential both within the University, and externally, owing to his drive and enthusiasm.

As chair of the University’s Wolfson Microelectronics Institute (1977-84), he laid the foundations for Wolfson Microelectronics to become a successful spin-out company with 400 staff.

In 1981 Collins was one of the founding directors who helped to raise £10M to set up Advent Technology Venture Capital Group to invest in established companies with high-tech products.

In 1987, Collins moved to America to take up a position as the founding director of the Automation and Robotics Research Institute at the University of Texas at Arlington.

On returning to Scotland in 1991, the Professor chaired the University of Edinburgh’s Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC). The centre attracted the UK National Supercomputing Service in 1994, a service EPCC still runs today.

Collins received a BSc in Physics, an MSc in Mathematics and a DSc from the University of London and an honorary DEng from Napier University in 1997.