Who we are

RSE building at night

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy was established in 1783 for “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge”.

Our contemporary mission remains the same – the deployment of knowledge for public good.

As Scotland’s National Academy, we use the combined knowledge of our 1,800-strong Fellowship to provide independent expert advice to policymakers and inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers.

This knowledge contributes to the social and economic wellbeing of Scotland, its people and the nation’s wider contribution to the global community.

Our Fellows from academia, business and public service are among the most distinguished in their fields.

We engage and connect nationally and internationally to share knowledge and tackle the most pressing challenges of the modern world.

As Scotland’s National Academy, we provide independent expert advice to government and inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers.

Julia Solomonoff et al. sitting at a table using a laptop
© Stewart Attwood 2023
A group of people looking at a laptop
© Ian Georgeson 2022


The support of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is vital to the RSE’s work in continuing to inspire, engage and advise at home and beyond. SFC contributes to the delivery of RSE’s strategic plan 2023–2028 and delivers SFC’s priorities through shared objectives.

Scottish Funding Council logo
Scottish Funding Council

Our objectives

Our strategic plan 2023–2028 sets out the framework for delivering the RSE’s purpose.

Societal challenges

The RSE identifies three broad challenges facing Scotland and the world. The challenges are addressed through an interdisciplinary approach encompassing the natural sciences; the economic and social sciences; the humanities; the creative arts, and the world of practice.

Climate change and environmental sustainability

Economic prosperity


Social cohesion

Thematic programmes

There are five main programme areas. They are not distinct from each other, but are interconnected


Economy and enterprise





Policy advice

RSE strategic plan 2023-2028

Our values

Our values form the basis on which we operate and underpin our objectives:


We recognise and reflect excellence and achievement and harness this for public good.


We take responsibility for our actions, hold ourselves accountable and are open and transparent.


We work with objectivity and without bias, favouritism or self-interest in Scotland’s interests.


We recognise and value the ideas, perspectives and experiences that others bring.


We embrace diversity in all its forms and are committed to building a fairer society.

View our policies and corporate documents

Working to inspire, engage, provide expertise and promote Scotland across the globe