Professor Ian Boyd's Story

Author: Ian L Boyd
Professor Ian Boyd's Story

Ian’s Fellowship took him to eastern Canada to study the science and politics of managing seal populations at a time when public attitudes to traditional management methods, including culling, were rapidly changing.


The Fellowship

Ian travelled to Arctic Canada, the Gulf of St Lawrence and northern Newfoundland with the aim of studying the biological, social and economic background to seal culling. He visited sealing operations in different areas and assessed the techniques in use, from laboratory analyses to field observations. 

The Results

Ian’s Churchill Fellowship represented the early stages of a career that has built a detailed understanding of the dynamics of complex systems (including physiological, social and ecological systems) and that continues to focus on developing solutions to some of the most intractable interactions between people and the environment.

Since his Fellowship, Ian has spent 14 years studying marine mammal ecology in Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey. He was awarded the Zoological Society of London Scientific Medal for his work on Polar Science, as well as the prestigious Bruce Medal for Polar Science by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

In 2001 he became Director of the Natural Environment Research Council’s Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, and then also of the Scottish Oceans Institute in 2009. He led these institutions to gain the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011.

Ian is a reviewing editor for the Journal Science and was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2001 and of the Society of Biology in 2010. In 2012 he moved to become Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government on Food and Environment within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Ian has also established several commercial companies that now operate globally and he has been a member of several committees that have reviewed fisheries both globally and nationally. He is also the author/editor of 10 books and over 160 peer-review scientific publications, and he continues to publish as part of a part-time professorship at the University of St Andrews.