BOULTON, Geoffrey 

Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh
Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)

Professor Geoffrey Boulton OBE FRS FRSE is Regius Professor of Geology Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, and former Vice Principal of the University. Until recently he was a member of the Council of the Royal Society, chairing its Science Policy Centre and was principal author of the influential Royal Society Report on Open Science. He is chair of the Academic Advisory Council of the University of Heidelberg, a member of the Strategic Council of the University of Geneva, a member of the UK Government’s Research Transparency Board, President of the Scottish Association for Marine Science and President of CODATA.  Until recently he was a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, the UK’s top-level science policy body, and has been a member or chaired many national and international bodies concerned with research, environmental policy and universities. His research is in the fields of environmental geology and glaciology, frequently involving large and diverse data volumes, and currently leads a major project on the Antarctic Ice Sheet. He has many national and international awards and honorary doctorates for his scientific work.



14:30-16:00 5 NOVEMBER
Plenary session III. CONFIDENCE IN science

Open Data & the Future of Science

Increasingly powerful means of acquiring, storing, manipulating and instantaneously transmitting vast and complex data volumes threaten to undermine the processes that have maintained the rigour of scientific enquiry. But they also offer new means of identifying patterns that have hitherto been impossible to resolve and new ways of understanding complexity. Advances in data acquisition and analysis permit machines to learn complex, adaptive behaviours by trial and error, with the disruptive potential to undertake what have hitherto been regarded as highly skilled, and necessarily human, tasks. Adapting to these challenges and opportunities has profound implications for the way science is done and what it means to be a scientist in a data-rich world.