Because good research needs good data

Speaker Biographies


Professor Mark Birkin holds the Chair of Spatial Analysis and Policy in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. Previously he was Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Informatics at Leeds, and a founder and Research Director of GMAP Limited — a University spin-out business providing model-based simulations to government and commercial organisations. He is joint director of GENeSIS, and previously the Principal Investigator of MoSeS, both modelling and simulation nodes of ESRC's National Centre for e-Social Science. Mark also leads the JISC-funded NeISS project.

Michael Dixon took over as Director of The Natural History Museum in June 2004. Since that time the Museum has seen annual attendance grow to c.3.75m and a determined effort has been made to show visitors more of the scientific research that has historically gone on behind the scenes. This culminated in September this year with the completion of the five year, £78m project to deliver the second phase of the Museum's Darwin Centre.

Michael was previously Director General of The Zoological Society of London, with responsibility for London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, alongside the organisation's worldwide conservation activities and its part government-funded scientific research arm, the Institute of Zoology. At ZSL he unified the scientific and visitor-facing activities of the organisation under a new brand identity and improved financial performance sufficiently to embark on ambitious new capital developments which have since been realised. Before taking up his position at ZSL, he worked for twenty years in the scientific, technical and medical publishing industry, following a BSc in Zoology from Imperial College and a DPhil from the University of York.

Timo Hannay is Publishing Director, at the Nature Publishing Group, publishers of Nature and over seventy other scientific journals, plus numerous online resources for scientists and those interested in science. His areas of responsibility include classified advertising as well as new online initiatives in social software, databases and audio-visual content. He trained as a neurophysiologist at the University of Oxford and worked as a journalist (The Economist, Nature Medicine) and a management consultant (McKinsey & Co.) before becoming a publisher. He lived in Japan for over five years and retains a strong interest in, and connections with, the country.

Professor Douglas Kell is Chief Executive at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), a UK grant funding agency for academic research. Before taking up the post of in October 2008, he was the Director of the Manchester Centre for Integrative Systems Biology based in the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre (MIB). His research covers a broad range of topics from analytical chemistry to systems biology, usually coupled to biochemical and data modelling. He continues to work at the MIB one day a week. He joined UMIST in 2002, which merged with the Victoria University of Manchester to form The University of Manchester in 2004.

He was, from 1997 until 2002, Director of Research of the Institute of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberystwyth. He held a personal Chair with the University of Aberystwyth for 10 years until 2002. He is a Director of Aber Instruments, which won the Queen's Award for Export Achievement in 1998.

Professor William Michener is Director of e-Science Initiatives for University Libraries at the University of New Mexico. He has a PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Carolina and has published extensively in the ecological sciences and information sciences. During the past decade he has directed several large interdisciplinary research programs and cyberinfrastructure projects including the NSF Biocomplexity Program, the Development Program for the NSF-funded Long-Term Ecological Research Network, and cyberinfrastructure projects that focus on developing information technologies for the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences.

Professor Carole L. Palmer works in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is Director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS). Her research investigates problems in scientific and scholarly information work, with a particular focus on barriers to scientific discovery and interdisciplinary inquiry, and the changing nature of "collections" in the digital information environment. She has written and presented widely on information support for interdisciplinary researchers and how to align digital research collections with scientific and scholarly research practices. She is a co-PI on the Data Conservancy, a recent NSF DataNet award, and her other recent funded projects include investigations of high impact information in brain research, data curation needs across sciences, federation of digital cultural heritage collections, and institutional repository development, as well as projects to develop educational programs to train information specialists in data curation and biological informatics.

Professor Edward Seidel is a physicist recognized for his work on numerical relativity and black holes, as well as in high-performance and grid computing. In 2003, Louisiana State University recruited Seidel to lead its investment in the Governor's Information Technology Initiative, and he became founding director of LSU's Center for Computation & Technology. Seidel served as CCT director from 2003-2008. Seidel also is the Floating Point Systems Professor in LSU's Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Computer Science. In addition to leading the CCT, he helped initiate, and was the chief scientist for, the $40M Louisiana Optical Network Initiative.

In June 2008, the National Science Foundation selected Seidel as its director for the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI). Seidel began this position on 1 September 2008, in which he oversees advances in supercomputing, high-speed networking, data storage and software development on a national level. He has recently assumed the role of Acting Assistant Director for Mathematics and Physical Sciences at NSF, and intends to return to OCI afterwards.

Professor Anne Trefethen is Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre. The Centre is an interdisciplinary centre working with research units across the University to develop new tools and technologies and to enable e-Research activities. Before joining Oxford University, she was Director of the UK e-Science Core Programme, having been Deputy Director for four years. The Core Programme focused on the generic issues for e-Science applications and Grid infrastructure through the development of appropriate middleware and infrastructure in collaboration with UK industry.

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