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by Staff reporter
07 December 2023
John Swinney takes up University of Glasgow role

Former deputy first minister John Swinney

John Swinney takes up University of Glasgow role

Former Deputy First Minister John Swinney is to join the University of Glasgow as an honorary professor.

The veteran MSP is to take up a role at the university's Centre for Public Policy.

Ken Thomson, former director general of strategy and external affairs at the Scottish Government, will also become an honorary professor.

The pair join a team including Chris Stark, chief executive of the UK's Climate Change Committee, and Carnegie UK chief executive Sarah Davidson.

Swinney, a former MP and SNP leader who has been an MSP since 1999, said: "Now, more than ever, it is important that policy makers and parliamentarians work in partnership with our universities to help tackle the issues that are impacting our collective health, wellbeing and standard of living.

"Although the challenges we face are undeniably substantial, I have always been optimistic that change and reform is possible within our society. However, this can only happen with the truly collaborative approach that is the Centre for Public Policy's mission.

"I applaud the University of Glasgow for its commitment to supporting public policy and I very much look forward to working with the Centre and wider university community to develop and enhance the public policy process for the benefit of all.”

Thomson, led support for ministers in negotiating the Edinburgh Agreement in 2012, Scotland’s first fiscal framework in 2016 and on the consequences for Scotland of EU exit. He also supported successive first ministers in shaping their programmes for government and on cross-government responses to challenges including Covid-19 and the consequences for Scotland of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before his retirement last month.

He said: “Governments and those they serve face increasingly complex and disruptive challenges, so it is more important than ever to find ways to bring different disciplines and perspectives to bear in shaping public policy responses. The University of Glasgow’s initiative in creating the Centre for Public Policy is an exciting one. I’m delighted to be able to contribute to that work, and am looking forward to it enormously.”

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, principal of the university, commented: “With this new centre and its honorary professors we will be in a stronger position to be able to bring a range of perspectives to national discussions on the key challenges facing society today. Both John and Ken will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their roles and I very much look forward to hearing their contribution and those of our other centre colleagues in the months and years ahead.”

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