Dr Hermann Hauser CBE

Areas of Interest

Business, Science and Technology

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of the University, 2001


Born in Vienna in 1948, Hermann Hauser is a physicist, businessman and technology pioneer. He first came to Cambridge at the age of 15 to learn English, and after gaining a degree in Physics from Vienna University, returned to the city to complete his PhD at King's College. He is perhaps most famous for his role in setting up Acorn, where he developed the first computer kit, the ACORN System 1. In 1981 he led the design team that built the BBC Microcomputer and later chaired the committee that defined BBC BASIC. In 1984 he was named "Computer Personality of the Year". He has since become involved in a number of high technology companies, and in 1997 co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners. In 2002 he was elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics and in 2001 was awarded a CBE. In 2004 he was appointed to the Government's Council for Science and Technology.

In 2001 Dr Hermann Hauser was made Honorary Doctor of the University.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Doctorate of the University to Dr Hermann Hauser, Chairman of Virata and Founder Director of Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd. Today, we honour Hermann Hauser for his innovation and enterprise, which is reflected in his starting over 25 technology companies.

He underwent his early schooling in the Tyrol region of his native Austria, before obtaining an MA degree in Physics from the University of Vienna. Later, as a member of King's College, Cambridge, he completed a PhD in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory. He has received honorary doctorates from two other UK universities and has been elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge.

It was in 1978 that Dr Hauser co-founded Acorn Computers, later becoming Chairman. He led the research and development team which produced the Acorn System1 and the Acorn ATOM. Later he played a key role in securing the BBC contract to produce a computer for a ten-part television series on computer literacy and chaired the committee which defined BBC Basic, which computer language has now become standard in English schools. He led the development team which produced this famous BBC Micro Computer, half a million of which had been sold up to 1984, when he was declared in Britain "computer personality of the year".

Incorporated in the design of this computer were several advanced features like the mixing of graphics and text simultaneously on the same screen and much use of gate arrays, which led to research collaboration with Cambridge University.

Dr Hauser led the research and development giving rise to the Electron Computer, incorporating the largest gate array to be designed for such a low cost machine, of which 250,000 were sold! He established a new research centre in Palo Alto, California, where he developed the word's first commercial RISC processor, a computer completely designed on silicon which revolutionized computer architecture and price. As Olivetti's Vice-President Research, he set up their corporate research organization based in Italy. He then went on to found, directly or indirectly, a veritable spring of high-tech companies like Harlequin, IXI Limited, ARM ( a joint venture between Acorn Computers and Apple Computers) the Active Book Company (to support the mobile businessman), EO Incorporated, Vocalis, Electron Share Information, Advanced Telecommunications (now called Virata), Net Products, NetChannel and two biomedical companies IQ Bio and SynGenix.

Dr Hauser also invested in Cambridge Display Technology, which is exploiting a discovery from Cambridge University, so-called Light-Emitting Polymers, which hold the promise of low cost, large scale flat panel displays.

Most recently, Dr Hauser co-founded the venture capital company, Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd, to invest in early stage European technology companies. Initially in the UK, where he raised his first investment fund (called Amadeus I) of £50 million, for which Microsoft set aside £5m. Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd raised a second fund of £235 million last year.

This breath-taking sequence of creation of high-tech businesses is quite phenomenal even for Cambridge. Dr Hauser has shown himself to be a man of exceptional vision in his own creations and through Amadeus, will now be able to support the development of yet many more new companies to exploit locally-germinated high-tech discoveries in information technology and, hopefully, other areas of scientific and technological endeavour, also. He has a passionate interest in stimulating entrepreneurship and has been a powerful influence behind the entrepreneurial drive in and around Cambridge.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice-Chancellor, to confer on Dr Herman Hauser, an Honorary Doctorate of this University."