Professional summary

Prof. Gordon Blair is Head of Environmental Digital Strategy at UKCEH. He is also a Distinguished Professor of Distributed Systems at Lancaster University where he holds a part-time post (20%). He is Co-Director of the Centre of Excellence in Environmental Data Science (CEEDS), a joint initiative between UKCEH and Lancaster University and before joining UKCEH, he held a prestigious EPSRC Senior Fellowship in Digital Technology and Living with Environmental Change (DT/LWEC).

His current research interests focus on the role of digital technology in supporting environmental science. This encompasses i) new forms of environmental monitoring and data acquisition, including the role of Internet of Things technology; ii) new forms of computational infrastructure to support the storage and processing of such data, specifically using cloud computing; and iii) new forms of analysing and making sense of this data using data science and AI. He is particularly interested in the future of Digital Research Infrastructure and how such infrastructure can support a new kind of science that is more open, collaborative and integrative. 

This all builds on a strong legacy of research in distributed systems, having been involved since the inception of the field in the early 1980s. His core research in this area focused on the middleware architectures that underpin complex distributed systems applications and services, including examination of key distributed properties such as interoperability and how these can be achieved in the complex and dynamic distributed systems of today.

Other Publications

Blair, GS, Henrys, PA, Leeson, A, Watkins, J, Eastoe, E, Jarvis, S, Young, P. (2019). Data science of the natural environment: a research roadmap, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 7, 121.

Blair, G.S., Beven, K., Lamb, R., Bassett, R., Cauwenberghs, K.,  Hankin, B., Dean, G., Hunter, N., Edwards, L., Nundloll, V., Samreen, F., Simm, W., Towe, R. (2019). Models of everywhere revisited: a technological perspective, Environmental modelling and software, 122, 104521.

Freitag, C., Berners-Lee, M., Widdicks, K.,  Knowles, B., Blair, G.S., Friday, A. (2022). The real climate and transformative impact of ICT, a critique of estimates, trends, and regulations, Patterns, 3, 8.

Thornton, L, Knowles, B,, Blair, G.S. (2021). Fifty Shades of Grey: In Praise of a Nuanced Approach Towards Trustworthy Design. in ACM FAccT’21: ACM Fairness, Accountability and Transparency. ACM, New York, 64-76. 

Hollaway, M.J., Dean, G., Blair, G.S., Brown, M, Henrys, P.A., Watkins, J. (2020). Tackling the Challenges of 21st-Century Open Science and Beyond: A Data Science Lab Approach, Patterns, 1, 100103. 

Towe, R., Dean, G., Edwards, E., Nundloll, V., Blair, G.S., Lamb, R., Hankin, B., Manson, S. (2020). Rethinking data-driven decision support in flood risk management for a big data age, Journal of Flood Risk Management, 13, 4, e12652. 

Nundloll, V., Lamb, R., Hankin, B., Blair, G.S. (2021). A semantic approach to enable data integration for the domain of flood risk management, Env. Challenges, 3, 100064

Thornton, L., Knowles, B., Blair, G.S. (2022). The Alchemy of Trust: The Creative Act of Designing Trustworthy Socio-Technical Systems, in ACM FAccT’22: ACM Fairness, Accountability and Transparency. ACM, New York, 1387-1398.

Phillipson, J., Blair, G.S., Henrys, P., (2022). Quantifying uncertainty in land cover mappings: An adaptive approach to sampling reference data using Bayesian inference, Environmental data science, 1, e15.



Blair, G.S., Henrys, P.A. (2023). The role of data science in environmental digital twins: in praise of the arrows, Environmetrics 34, 2, e2789.