Scotland’s first ever chief advisor on science has been appointed by The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy of Science & Letters. Professor Wilson Sibbett, CBE, FRS, FRSE, Professor of Physics at The University of St. Andrews is to chair the Scottish Science Advisory Committee. This independent Committee is a high-powered body being created, under the auspices of the RSE, as part of the Science Strategy for Scotland, launched earlier this year by the Minister for Science, Wendy Alexander, MSP. The Committee will provide independent advice on strategic scientific issues. It will advise Scottish Executive Ministers on issues of scientific importance and will report to the Council of The Royal Society of Edinburgh. As well as overseeing the work of the Committee, it is intended that the Chair will also become chief advisor on science to the Scottish Executive. The appointment was announced by RSE President, Sir William Stewart.
Professor Sibbett was a Member of the Joint Working Group of The Royal Society of London and The Royal Society of Edinburgh which produced the highly influential report, Devolution and Science, published in April 1999. Wilson Sibbett is widely recognised as a world authority in laser physics and optoelectronics. The author/co author of over 280 journal publications, Professor Sibbett’s work has wide-ranging applications in the field of ultrafast science and technology, including optical communications and photobiology.
The appointment of Chairman of The Scottish Science Advisory Committee was made by the Council of The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Professor Sibbett will continue to run his research group at The University of St. Andrews and is expected to spend 4-6 days a month chairing the Scottish Science Advisory Committee. Advertisements inviting applications for membership of the Committee will appear in the national press shortly. A steering-group, in concert with the Chair of the Committee, will select the broadly-based membership of The Scottish Science Advisory Committee. The office of the Committee will be located within the George Street premises of the RSE.
RSE President and former UK Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir William Stewart said:
I am very pleased to announce that Professor Wilson Sibbett has taken on this key role for science and technology in Scotland. Science and technology will play a hugely important part in Scotland in the 21st century. Professor Sibbett, a world expert in his field, with extensive knowledge of UK science policy, will bring his own pioneering, expert viewpoint to bear in leading the Science Advisory Committee for Scotland. He has extensive experience in working with Government and industry, and I am confident that he will be highly successful in taking forward the positive framework which the Minister has set out. A scientist of international standing, Wilson Sibbett will, I am sure, seek to promote Scotland’s scientific interests, nationally. and at UK, European and global level.
Upon his appointment, Professor Wilson Sibbett said:
I am delighted to have been invited to chair the new Scottish Science Advisory Committee. It is an exciting and challenging opportunity to establish an integrated and strategic perspective for Science in Scotland. We intend to form a Committee that will have an extensive base of knowledge and experience. This will ensure that it will be well placed to provide independent, expert advice to the Scottish Executive on selected, scientific initiatives both in national and international contexts.
Professor Wilson Sibbett, CBE, FRS, FRSE
Chairman of The Scottish Science Advisory Committee ~ Wardlaw Professor of Physics ~ The University of St. Andrews:
Age: 53; Born Portglenone, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland, March 1948; Married; 3 Daughters; Lives in St. Andrews, Fife.
Education & Positions Held:
BSc Degree in Physics, Queen's University Belfast 1970
PhD Degree studies in Laser Physics, Queen's University Belfast and Imperial College 1973
Research Fellow, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College 1973-77
Lecturer in Physics, Imperial College 1977-84
Reader in Physics, Imperial College 1984-85
Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of St Andrews 1985-present
Head of Physics Department, University of St Andrews 1985-88
Head of School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews 1988-94
Director of Research, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews, 1994-present
Wardlaw Professor of Physics, University of St Andrews, 1997- present
University of St Andrews
Member of Session of Hope Park Church, St Andrews
Member of St Andrews Rotary Club
Member of St Andrews New Golf Club
Member of Boards of Directors of Uniphase Corporation and JDS Uniphase (1995 – 2001)
Chairman of the Mossmorran & Braefoot Bay Air Quality Review Group (1995 - )
Member of Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
Notes for Editors
A higher resolution version of this image can be obtained from the Society. Photo by Gary Doak.
Professor Wilson Sibbett, Minister for Enterprise & Lifelong Learning, Wendy Alexander, and RSE President, Sir William Stewart.*