Infrastructuring Bio-Edu-Data Science

Dr Ben Williamson, Centre for Research in Digital Education

7th June, 12-1pm

Recording (coming early 2024)


Technological transformations in molecular genomics have begun to affect knowledge production in education. Interdisciplinary teams are cohering into large-scale scientific consortia, working across a range of methods, technologies, expertise, biomaterials, and datasets with the aim of identifying the genetic dimensions of ‘educationally-relevant’ traits, behaviours, and outcomes. This presentation will present findings from a project investigating the synthesis of biology, education and data science, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. I examine the emerging ‘knowledge infrastructure’ of educational genomics research, attending to the organisational associations, epistemic architecture, and scientific apparatuses implicated in the generation of genomic understandings from masses of bioinformation. While scientists claim to be ‘opening the black box of the genome’ and its association with educational outcomes and behaviours, the aim of this presentation is to open the black box of educational genomics as a source of emerging scientific authority in educational research and knowledge production.


Dr Ben Williamson is Chancellor's Fellow at the Centre for Research in Digital Education and the Edinburgh Futures Institute, examining the intersections of digital technologies, science, and data with education policy and governance.

My current research focuses on two key themes. One is the expansion of educational data infrastructures to enable information to be collected from schools and universities, then analysed and circulated to various audiences. The second is the emergence of ‘intimate data’ relating to students’ psychological states, neural activity, and genetic profiles, and the implications for increasingly scientific ways of approaching educational policy and practice. 

Dr Ben Williamson

Date of Event
Research Area
Data Society