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Professor Michael Boniface 

Director of the IT Innovation Centre

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Michael is Director of the IT Innovation Centre within the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, a Professorial Fellow of Information Systems, directs ECS Industrial Strategy translating fundamental research into practice, whilst leading ground-breaking research and innovation programmes. He joined IT Innovation Centre and the University of Southampton in 2000 after several years at Nortel Networks developing technologies to support telecommunications interoperability.  He has an international reputation as thought-leader pioneering the evolution of information technologies for tackling important business and societal challenges. 

He has over 20+ years’ experience of seeking new ways to achieve productivity, learning, and enjoyment using complex multi-stakeholder systems and platforms. His combination of expertise underpins data, infrastructure and engineering strategy building on his experience in digital innovation, secure systems engineering, federated resource management, data science and ethical oversight working across healthcare, education, engineering, smart cities, clouds and telco sectors. He delivers vision, technical strategy, roadmaps, software engineering and leadership of multi-disciplinary teams. He is hands-on, designing and implementing architecture and software solutions, APIs and resolving issues related to experience, logic, data and performance. He's strategic and effectively communicates novel and complex propositions to different stakeholders especially when such propositions disrupt current thinking.

He has technically led many large-scale multi-disciplinary projects revolutionising the way Internet ecosystems are designed, built and how impacts are understood. From 2000-2010 Michael undertook ground-breaking research into B2B web services supporting dynamic management, security and interoperability for inter-organisation collaboration. The insights led to ways to interoperate, federate and orchestrate data and computing resources , as well as reducing the cost of operating such federations. The work influenced service strategies of the world’s biggest companies (IBM, GSK, Audi, BAE Systems, EADS, Fujitsu, British Telecom, Microsoft and Pinewood Studios for example) through dynamic management protocols linked to business decisions, SLA-based service management and integrating service discovery and negotiation into enterprise processes and standards. Data, computing and network convergence during this period extended research towards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) supporting QoS engineering and management for real-time interactive applications deployed on virtualised clouds and networks. 

As a result of this research, in 2010 Boniface was appointed to the Steering Committee of the European Future Internet Assembly and Chair of the Future Internet Socio-Economics working group (2010-2014. Here he explored the dynamic and complex interdependencies between heterogenous resources under different domains of control, along with the socio-economic challenges faced by companies needing to understand performance, acceptance and viability of new services introduced into Internet ecosystems. This led to principles of open APIs, programmable resources, deep observability, on-demand access and approaches that overcome the constraints of current business models and as such digital innovation platforms were born as an extension of PaaS, and a way to build platforms as hubs for communities wanting to explore service and value networks.

In collaboration with major European institutes such as Fraunhofer and IMEC, he then pioneered innovation processes, services and tools to establish platforms for digital innovation. From 2010, his research led to a series of platforms and communities that have incrementally tackled aspects of convergence through federation models. He led strategy to influence funding priorities and community building for digital innovation , and as a core player with IMEC and Fraunhofer, he helped sure €21M of grants from funding bodies for FP7 FED4FIRE/H2020 FED4FIRE+ (2012-2021) resulting in the largest federation of testing facilities in Europe.

In FP7 EXPERIMEDIA (€5M 2011-2015) Michael led ground-breaking social and networked media services conducting 10s of trials in real-world operational environments with end users. He developed techniques combining semantic graph knowledge modelling and time-series data analysis extending earlier QoS engineering research towards QoE and the exploration of provenance and correlation between derived from data sets within an ethical framework considering Privacy by Design and EU 95/46. Then through the H2020 FLAME programme (€7M 2017-2020) he extended EXPERIMEDIA by adding infrastructure providers to the ecosystem within smart cities to drive adoption of 5G. He continues research into graph analytics exploring aggregation, normalisation, linking and causation between federated datasets for optimal resourcing decisions. In FLAME, he manages a €2.1M investment programme for engagement of SMEs and industry in trials across European cities and has worked with information governance experts to deliver a comprehensive framework for ethical oversight and data protection ensuring legal compliance with GDPR regulations and research integrity. Within these projects is has led over 50 trials in real-world environments building evidence of performance, acceptance and feasibility as input to standardisiation and future investment.

Finally, new horizons are extending his research towards big data techniques supporting data-driven innovation and the exploration of machine learning and AI. He has led and contributed to expert reports shaping the European NGI initiative, including topics such as Responsible AI and Opinion Forming .Within this context, Michael now leads teams working at the intersection between healthcare, data science and infrastructures exploring interactive visualisation for machine learning, risk stratification techniques for population level health policies (H2020 CrowdHealth) and predictive models for self-management of COPD (H2020 BigMedylitics) real-time patient data combined with other environment and social data. 

He leads the Coalition for Innovation and Digital Health Research (CIDHR) in collaboration with Hampshire and IoW NHS STP, NHS providers (UHFT, HHFT, PHFT) and regional institutions (Wessex Academic Health Science Network) to establish an innovation ecosystem to explore the progressive digitisation of networked health and social care. CIDHR builds on a vision for how infrastructure, federated systems, data science and innovation can be combined to support medical discovery leveraging large, complex, linked, curated research and real-world data sets, along with a vast array of computational models representing humans, natural systems and health systems.  

Research interests

Data and network-driven healthcare

Federated Systems Management

Digital Innovation and System Transformation

Professor Michael Boniface
Web Science Institute
Building 32, Room 3041, Level 3
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Hampshire, SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Room Number : 13/5077/M9

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