Alumni Services

Pioneering scientist named Alumnus of the Year

Professor Lesley Yellowlees, graduate and pioneering staff member, has been named Alumnus of the Year 2013 at a ceremony in McEwan Hall.

Professor Lesley Yellowlees

Professor Yellowlees completed both her BSc in Chemical Physics and her PhD in Inorganic Electrochemistry at the University of Edinburgh. After completing research positions in Brisbane, Australia and Glasgow she returned to an academic position in Edinburgh in 1986 and gained a personal chair in Inorganic Electrochemistry in 2005.

Currently she is Vice Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, where she is leading activities to rejuvenate the King’s Building Campus and ensure research across all disciplines is cutting edge.

Women in science

Her time at the University has been noted for her pioneering part in advancing the role of women in science. She has led the University’s efforts to encourage development in this area, including gaining the Athena Swan Recognition - an award that recognises the commitment of organisations to promote the careers of women in science. She has also engaged with International Women’s Day as well as promoting a new nursery currently being built at King’s Buildings.

Professor Yellowlees received her Alumnus of the Year award at a special ceremony during winter graduations in McEwan Hall. Professor Mary Bownes, Vice-Principal for External Engagement, was on hand to deliver a laureation address. She said: “Whilst we often look externally to select our Alumnus of the Year, Lesley is such an outstanding researcher and leader and a stunning role model and advocate for women in Science, Engineering and Technology that we are delighted to have chosen one of our own members of staff this year.”


The Alumnus of the Year award is made annually to former Edinburgh students who have made a significant impact in public life. Past winners have included writer Ian Rankin, former Director General of MI5 Stella Rimington and Olympic rower Katherine Grainger.