IOP welcomes Sheila Rowan as Scotland’s next chief scientific adviser

8 June 2016

IOP fellow Professor Sheila Rowan, whose team contributed to the discovery of gravitational waves, is to be the next chief scientific adviser for Scotland, it was announced today.

Professor Sheila Rowan

Rowan, who is director of the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow, takes up her appointment on 13 June. Her role will be to ensure that science informs the Scottish Government’s work and to advise on the impact that new developments in science may have.

She said: “This is an exciting time to join the Scottish Government and I’m looking forward to working with ministers and officials to show the added value that science advice can bring to their work. I’m also keen to meet scientists across Scotland so that I can fully appreciate the potential impact of new developments in science, engineering and technology.”

Announcing the appointment today during a ministerial visit to the University of Glasgow, Scotland’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, said: “I am delighted to welcome Professor Rowan to the Scottish Government and look forward to working with her as chief scientific adviser (CSA).”

Responding to the announcement, the IOP’s chief executive, Professor Paul Hardaker, said: “We are delighted to hear of the appointment. The CSA plays such an important role in support of the Scottish Government’s work and to see as outstanding a scientist as Sheila is picking up the role is hugely exciting. I have no doubt that she will bring a huge amount of value to this critically important role.”

Alison McLure, IOP’s national officer for Scotland, said: “Professor Rowan’s appointment as CSA is excellent news for Scotland. Sheila has already proven herself to be a superb ambassador for physics and I am sure that she has the skills and experience to excel in this important role.”

Former IOP president Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, speaking as president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: “The Royal Society of Edinburgh is strongly of the view that expert scientific advice should be available to the Scottish Government when considering policy issues. We therefore welcome the news that Professor Rowan has taken up the crucial CSA post and look forward to offering support to her in the future.”

Rowan succeeds another University of Glasgow academic, Professor Muffy Calder, in the role. The appointment is for three years and will be a three-days-per-week secondment to the Scottish Government.

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