The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) names new Fellows 2017.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is delighted to announce that HRH The Duke of Cambridge has been elected to become an RSE Royal Honorary Fellow. We much look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with HRH, as we have with our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen, and our other Royal Fellows. The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal and now The Duke of Cambridge are all Royal Honorary Fellows of the RSE. Her Majesty The Queen is a Patron of the RSE.

Also announced today are the names of 59 distinguished individuals who have been elected to become Fellows of the RSE in 2017. Hailing from sectors that range from the arts, business, science and technology and academia, they join the current RSE Fellowship whose varied expertise supports the advancement of learning and useful knowledge in Scottish public life.

The strength of the RSE lies in the breadth of disciplines represented by its Fellowship. This range of expertise enables the RSE to take part in a host of activities such as providing independent and expert advice to Government and Parliament, supporting aspiring entrepreneurs through mentorship, facilitating education programmes for young people and engaging the general public through educational events.  

The RSE is heartened to see a continued increase in the number of new Fellows from the arts, business and professional spheres. They include:

Val McDermid

One of the biggest names in crime writing, Val McDermid is a founding writer of what has become known as the ‘tartan noir’ genre.

Sir Paul Grice

Chief Executive, Scottish Parliament. Sir Paul Grice played a major role in the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and fosters connections between the Scottish Parliament and the world of academia.

Barbara Young, Baroness Young of Old Scone

Life Peer, House of Lords. Baroness Young was the Chief Executive of Diabetes UK from 2010 to 2015. The Baroness is currently Chair of the Woodland Trust Board of Trustees.

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne

Business women and founder of Genius Foods; the brand leader in gluten-free products in the UK.

Dame Barbara Mary Kelly

Dame Barbara Kelly is the Chairman of The Robertson Trust and a central figure in rural affairs in Scotland having acted as the Chair for the £30M Millennium Forest for Scotland Trust.

Kirsty Wark

Kirsty Wark is a Scottish journalist and television presenter. Best known for fronting BBC Two’s current affairs programme Newsnight, Kirsty also presented on the BBC’s Newsnight Review from 2002 to 2014.

A number of the new 2017 RSE Fellows are involved in the highest calibre of scientific enquiry and policy making:

Sir Mark Jeremy Walport

Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government, Government Office for Science. Distinguished clinical scientist, scientific communicator and advisor. UKRI Chief Executive designate.

Anneila Isabel Sargent

Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology. University of Edinburgh Alumna of the Year 2002.  Former President of the American Astronomical Society and Chair of the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee.

Strengthening the international work of the RSE, highly-distinguished individuals join the RSE as Corresponding Fellows, including:

  • JAMISON, Kay Redfield, The Dalio Family Professor in Mood Disorders, Johns Hopkins University
  • BAER, Thomas Michael, Executive Director, Stanford Photonics Research Centre, Stanford University
  • LIU, Congqiang, Professor, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences

New Fellows are elected each year through a rigorous five-stage nomination process. The breadth of the Fellowship—which includes over 1600 individuals from the UK and abroad —enables the RSE to provide a wide range of leadership and expertise.

President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, commented:

Each newly elected Fellow has been nominated on their exceptional and extensive achievements; it is a great honour to welcome such a range of outstanding individuals to the Fellowship. In joining the RSE Fellowship, they will strengthen the Society’s capacity to advance excellence across all areas of public life in Scotland and further afield.


The full list of new RSE Fellows 2017 are as follows:


Professor Anneila Sargent is Professor of Astronomy and past Vice-President for Student Affairs at the California Institute of Technology, where
Sir Mark Walport spent the first part of his career as a physician scientist at Hammersmith Hospital, working on the
Environmental campaigner and regulator, Baroness Young of Old Scone has worked to safeguard and improve the environment of a range


Dr Thomas Baer is the Executive Director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center at Stanford University. His research focuses on
Professor George Gao obtained his PhD from Oxford University and undertook his postdoctoral work at both Oxford and Harvard Universities.
Professor Cong-Qiang Liu received his BSc degree from Nanjing University of China in 1982 and his PhD from Tokyo University
Professor Neil Price is Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at Uppsala University, Sweden, and formerly held the Sixth Century Chair of
Professor Kay Jamison is a psychologist with research interests in the study and treatment of mental disorders, particularly bipolar illness.


Professor Tim Aitman has expertise in clinical science, medical genomics, molecular pathology, quantitative genetics and disease modelling. He joined the
Before taking on her current roles as Principal of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, and as Chancellor of the
Professor David Benson is a pure mathematician, specialising in finite group representation theory and cohomology. He received his BA and
Christina Boswell is Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh, where she serves as Dean of Research for the
Professor Stephen Brewster is one of the UK’s leading researchers in Human Computer Interaction with research interests in using multiple
Professor Stefan Brink was Sixth Century Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Aberdeen until 2019 and is currently
After receiving her BSc in Physiology from Queen Mary University of London, Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne retrained as a chef at the
Professor Matthew Dalby is a biologist interested in the way that mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow interact with materials.
Professor Peter Duff has spent the majority of his career at the University of Aberdeen, specialising in criminal justice, evidence
Professor Daniele Faccio gained his PhD in Physics from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France, in 2007 and became
James Fairbairn became CEO of Megger in November 2017 after 6 years as Executive Director of Howden Group. Previously, James
Professor Lyndsay Fletcher is a solar physicist working on solar flares, the dramatic and (currently) unpredictable episodes of energy release
Sir Bill Gammell is a businessman who founded Cairn Energy PLC and was Chief Executive from the Company’s initial listing
Martin Gilbert is a businessman who co-founded Aberdeen Asset Management in 1983. In August 2017, AAM merged with Standard Life
Professor Stephen Gillespie joined the University of St. Andrews in 2010 after spending over two decades at the Royal Free
Sir Paul Grice has extensive experience of leadership and governance in the public and higher education sectors. Alongside his parliamentary
Professor Harald Haas is an electrical engineer, inventor and entrepreneur, who has spent his career researching the fundamental aspects of
Professor Hazel Hall has been Professor of Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University since 2010. Her research expertise and teaching
Professor Philip Hannaford is an internationally recognised expert on the safety of contraception, particularly the contraceptive pill. Other research interests
Professor David Horn gained his PhD in Molecular Biology from University College London in 1993 and joined The Rockefeller University,
With a background in social and biological sciences, Professor Kate Hunt’s research has focused on understanding and improving human health
Professor Lee Innes is a leader in science communication and public engagement. Her research is in infectious diseases of livestock
A partner in a farming enterprise in Galloway for over 50 years, most of Dame Barbara Kelly’s work has been
Professor Maggie Kinloch is Professor Emerita and former Deputy Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. A theatre director for
Professor Fiona Macpherson is Director of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience at the University of Glasgow. Her
Professor Lorna Macpherson has been Professor of Dental Public Health at the University of Glasgow since 2006 and is focused
Professor Ursula Martin is a computer scientist with current research interests in the empirical study of the practice of mathematics;
Dr Bridget McConnell has a track record of achievement in the cultural and sport sector. She has been Chief Executive
Professor Gerry McCormac is a physicist with research interests in space physics and carbon dating. His early career was spent
Dr Val McDermid is a bestselling crime writer and broadcaster, with over 30 novels translated into 40 languages to her
Professor Neil McKeown is a chemist whose research involves using organic synthetic chemistry to develop novel porous materials for use
James Naughtie, special correspondent and books editor for BBC News, presented ‘Today on BBC Radio 4’ for 21 years. As
Professor Jane Norman joined the University of Bristol in June 2019. Prior to this she spent 11 years as Professor
Prior to joining the University of Stirling in 2003, Professor Ronan O’Carroll was Professor of Psychology at the University of
Ray Perman is a former journalist who worked on newspapers including The Times, Scotsman, and Financial Times and was managing
Professor Win Rampen was Founder and Chairman of Artemis Intelligent Power (now Danfoss Scotland), an engineering company spun-out from work
Professor Jane Reid is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist with interests in understanding how genetic and environmental variation combine to
Professor Derryck Reid is an optical physicist whose research interests are in developing lasers that produce light pulses lasting only
Professor Roy Robertson has spent over three decades working as a medical practitioner in Edinburgh with expertise in illegal drug
Professor John Rouse gained his PhD from the University of Dundee in 1996 before moving to the University of Cambridge
Professor Joanne Sharp is an internationally-leading human geographer with interests in geopolitical and feminist geography. She studied for her undergraduate
Professor Andrew Smith is a creative organic chemist with research interests in the development of new catalysis. Catalysis provides society
Professor Robert Steele is one of the UK’s most prominent research surgeons with research interests in surgery, colorectal cancer, cancer
Professor Iain Stewart is a geologist who has made huge contributions to the public understanding of earth science. He has
Professor Doerthe Tetzlaff has made seminal contributions in the field of hydrology. The aim of her research is understanding the
Professor Alexander Tudhope is one of Scotland’s most well-regarded earth scientists. His research explores global climate variability associated with Pacific
Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh previously Masson Professor of English and Head of
Kirsty Wark is a Journalist and Presenter, best known as anchor of ‘Newsnight’ – the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs
Alison Watt is regarded as one of the leading painters working in the UK today. While still a student at
Professor Richard A Williams is an academic leader, engineer and entrepreneur. He was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor at Heriot-Watt
Professor Jeremy Wilson has been Director of Science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) since 2020,