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June 5, 2008
Robert Boily to Receive Sigma Xi's 2008 McGovern Award
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - What distinguishes Robert Boily of Laval, Quebec, Canada, from other science communicators is that his influence has been felt far beyond the realm of science education. He has been a catalyst for research and development projects that have had major scientific, economic and social impacts in Canada and abroad.
Boily will receive Sigma Xi's 2008 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award in recognition of his contributions to science and society and his role as a prominent spokesperson for the public understanding and appreciation of science. The McGovern Award, consisting of a medal and a $5,000 honorarium, will be presented at the 2008 Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference, set for November 20-23 in Washington, D.C. The McGovern Award Lecture is a highlight of the annual meeting.
Boily is president of Inforex, which he founded in 1996. The company specializes in research, analysis, interpretation and communication of international strategic intelligence in science and technology. Working with research and development teams (industries, laboratories), government organizations and financial entities (banks, venture capitalists), Inforex provides the knowledge necessary to move innovation-related projects forward.
The company also acts as a critical link between scientists and business development teams, helping to build solid commercialization plans for innovative technologies and products.
Boily's career spans more than 30 years as a researcher, analyst and communicator. Over the years, he has conducted more than 700 science and technology knowledge projects, supporting research initiatives totaling more than $350 million dollars. His work as a senior consultant to government, research laboratories, industry and academia has had an even broader impact.
Boily has been a catalyst for research and innovation, from experiments aboard the space station to technologies that have advanced deep-sea exploration, from microscopic nanoscale materials to gigantic aluminum smelters, from laser systems that can cut steel plates to laser systems for visualizing the inside of the human body.
Because he communicates science to decision-makers having the authority to make things happen, Boily has been influential in the launch or completion of hundreds of science and technology projects, many having important implications for our future, especially in the areas of health, energy and environment.
Born in 1957 in Laval, he studied industrial electronics at the University of Montrealís Polytechnic School, as well as optics, optoelectronics and semiconductors in Rochester, New York, and Toronto. He received a B.A. in education from the University of Quebec in Montreal, and both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the psychology of learning from the University of Montreal.
Boily began his career at Kodak Canada, where he worked for 10 years in the micro-imaging department. In 1989, he was appointed a senior specialist of research, analysis and communication at the Quebec Government Research Center in Montreal.
His many honors include fellowship in the Royal Society of Arts, the World Academy of Art and Science, the World Innovation Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A member of Sigma Xi, Boily is also a life member of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science.
He has served on several boards and committees related to science, technology and research ethics and is the only non-U.S. citizen to have received the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Award for Meritorious Service.
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist, the non-profit Society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.