Professor Michael Butler oversees support programmes for enterprise and impact created by world-leading scientific research at the University of Southampton. He is an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering and is also internationally recognised for his research on mathematical software engineering methods for complex systems.
Michael plays a crucial role in building the international standing of the Faculty by supporting academics to maximise the impact of their work on business, society and the environment through industrial collaboration, patents, consultancy, spin-outs, engagement with public bodies and engagement with the general public. He also helps promote the advancement of women in science and engineering through the Athena SWAN scheme.
Michael endeavours to keep track of the different innovations and technologies being developed by researchers in the Faculty. He can help companies identify which academics to contact for collaboration in their field and advise on the best mechanisms for partnership to suit businesses’ needs. You can get in touch with Michael using the contact form on this page.
Researchers interested in collaborating with industry can also contact Michael for support. He can recommend appropriate strategies for engagement and signpost people to experts on resources and managing intellectual property.
Michael was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, and studied Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin before completing a Masters and PhD at the University of Oxford.
His research focuses on helping developers build higher quality software. The work will ensure fewer bugs and customer complaints in future commercial products, and plays a crucial role in safety critical systems where failures can harm people or the environment. Michael has helped lead European projects which have produced an open-source software toolkit for developers.
The toolkit, known as Rodin, has already been used in industry during product development. Recently, his team has been providing day-to-day support and creating new plugins for the toolkit as UK companies pilot the toolkit to improve their development processes.
Michael was instrumental in putting together outstanding Computer Science submissions for the REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework), which recognised all of the University’s Computer Science research impact to be world-leading or internationally excellent.
This experience gave him insight into the government’s evaluation of impact and he has since launched initiatives such as the Faculty’s impact network to build the potential for success in future cases. The impact network introduces researchers to university staff who support enterprise and impact through presentations on relevant topics and shares best practice from across the Faculty.
Michael would advise people to always plan five years ahead as they plot their career and encourages researchers to engage with end users of their technology to understand of the challenges they face. This can greatly help teams to plan the potential impact of their work.