Scotlands chief advisor on science appointed by The RSE

Scotlands chief advisor on science appointed by The RSE

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.

Biographical Information 
Professor Wilson Sibbett, CBE, FRS, FRSE

Chairman of The Scottish Science Advisory Committee ~ Wardlaw Professor of Physics ~ The University of St. Andrews:

Personal Status:
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

Research Awards:

  • Hubert Schardin Gold Medal for "Fundamental Research Contributions to Ultrashort Light Pulse Generation and Measurement" 1978
  • Institute of Physics CV Boys Medal and Prize for "Experimental Physics" 1993
  • NPL Metrology Award for "A Novel Optical Autocorrelator and Wavemeter" 1994
  • Rank Prize for Optoelectronics 1997
  • Mitutoyo - NPL Frontier Science and Measurement Award 1998
  • Rumford Medal of The Royal Society for "Research into Ultrashort-Pulse Laser Science and Technology" 2000

Fellowships:

  • Fellow of The Institute of Physics 1986
  • Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 1989
  • Fellow of the Royal Society 1997
  • Fellow of The Optical Society of America 1998

Honours:

  • New Year Honours - CBE for "Contributions to Science" 2001Principal Administrative Roles

University of St Andrews

  • Head of Physics Department 1985-88
  • Head of School of Physics and Astronomy 1988-94
  • Director of Research, School of Physics and Astronomy 1994-present
  • Co-Technical Director of PhotonicsInnovation Centre 1999-present
  • Director of Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration "Ultrafast Photonics Collaboration - UPC" 2000-present

Extra-University:

  • SERC Physics Committee 1986-89
  • Editorial Board member of Journal of Applied Physics B - Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 1987-91
  • External Examiner in MSc Applied Optics, Salford University 1988-94
  • Member of DTI/SERC Committee for Joint Optoelectronics Research Scheme 1989-91
  • International Technical Programme Member for biennial topical conferences on Ultrafast Phenomena 1990-present
  • International Technical Programme Member for biennial topical conferences on Ultrafast Processes in Spectroscopy 1991-present
  • International Program/Technical Committee Member for Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, 'CLEO' '92 1991-92
  • Editorial Board Member of Optics Communications 1991-95
  • Editorial Board Member of Soviet Lightwave Communications 1991-95
  • Member of SERC/DTI Advanced Devices and Materials Committee 1991-92
  • External Examiner in Physics for University of Glasgow 1992-96
  • Chairman of SERC Laser Committee 1992-94
  • Member of SERC Facilities Commission 1993-94
  • Vice-Chairman of DTI/EPSRC LINK PHOTONICS Projects Panel 1993-present
  • Member of EPSRC College of Peers in Physics 1995-present
  • Member of HEFC Physics Panel for 1996 Research Assessment Exercise 1995-96
  • Member of Programme Committee, Ultrafast Optics and Electronics, CLEO-Pacific Rim, 1995-96
  • Member of the Scientific Programme Committee for European Optical Society Meeting on Materials for Nonlinear Optics 1995-96
  • Programme Committee Member, Physics of Coherent Light Sources, International Quantum Electronics Conference, IQEC '96 1995-96
  • Chair, Ultrafast Optics and Electronics, CLEO-Europe 1996
  • Member of Physics Panel for "Research Assessment '96" of UK Universities 1995-96
  • Member of Technical Programme Committee for CLEO-Europe '98 1997-98
  • Member of the Council of the EPSRC 1997-March 2001 (remuneration was £5000 p/a)
  • Member of Technical Opportunities Palen ('TOP') of the EPSRC 1997-present
  • Member of Optoelectronics Committee of the Rank Prize Foundation 1999-present
  • Member Ultrafast Optics and Electronics, CLEO-Europe 2000 1999-2000
  • Member of Sectional Committee 2 of The Royal Society, London, 1999-present
  • Vice-Chairman of Physics Panel for "Research Assessment '01" of UK Universities 1999-2001
  • Member of Council of the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils 2000-March 2001
  • Member of Programme Committee of IQEC-2002 2001-02
  • External Examiner in Physics for Trinity College, Dublin 2001-present

Other Activities

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.*

 

  • The Scottish Executive will fund the RSE to set up and run the Committee including a stipend for the Chair, which is expected to be in the region of £400 per diem.
  • Devolution and Science: Report by a Joint Working Group of The Royal Society of London and The Royal Society of Edinburgh was published in April 1999 and is available from both Societies.
  • Professor Wilson Sibbett has declared that he has not been involved in political activity.
  • The Committee will provide advice to Scottish Executive Ministers on science strategy, policy and priorities to allow the Scottish Executive to make effective use of available scientific advice, knowledge and techniques in formulating and implementing policies to support the full range of its objectives. The Committee will take a medium to long term, horizon scanning, strategic view in formulating its advice to Ministers. It will also publish an annual report on the work of the Committee, the implementation of the strategy, and on key strategic issues relevant to Scotland

 

Follow Us: