New Chief Scientific Advisor is experimental physicist Professor Sheila Rowan

Written by Tom Freeman on 8 June 2016 in News

Professor Sheila Rowan MBE is appointed as Scotland's new Chief Scientific Adviser - a post vacant since 2014

An award-winning physicist at the University of Glasgow has been appointed as Scotland’s new Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA).

Professor Sheila Rowan MBE was unveiled as the new CSA by ministers during a visit to the University this morning.

The post, which provides independent scientific advice to ministers, has been vacant since Muffy Calder stepped down in December 2014, and it is thought the Scottish Government struggled to attract applications.


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Professor Rowan is director at the Institute for Gravitational Research and contributed to the first detection of gravitational waves, one of the most high-profile scientific breakthroughs in recent times.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Professor Rowan’s work is a fantastic example of our world-leading science base, and she is a great advocate of its potential to benefit Scotland’s economy, environment and people. I hope that she will also inspire many of our young people to consider a future career in science.”

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, welcomed Professor Rowan’s appointment.

“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 Chief Scientific Adviser post and look forward to offering support to her in the future.”

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