Nigel 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).
From 1998 to 2005, he was Pro Vice-Chancellor for Staff Development at the University of Surrey.
He teaches research methods, computing, statistics and his research interests include computer simulation, sociology of science and science policy, innovation, sociology of the environment.