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The RSE names 2020 Fellows

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (The RSE), Scotland’s National Academy has announced its newly elected 2020 Fellows. These new Fellows comprise leading thinkers and experts from Scotland and around the world whose work has a significant impact on our nation.

The new intake of 64 fellows joins the current roll of around 1,600, representing the full range of physical and life sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, education, professions, industry, business and public life.  Those who are nominated, and then invited to join, have undergone rigorous assessment of their achievements, professional standing and societal contribution.  Fellows, who give of their time freely, play a fundamental role in enabling the RSE to deliver its mission ‘Knowledge Made Useful’, contributing to the cultural, economic and social well-being of Scotland and the wider world.

The list includes many leading academics, such as Professor Francisca Mutapi, a world-expert on global health and tropical diseases, and Professor Rosalind Allen, whose work contributions to our understanding of antibiotic resistance, but also includes a wide array of leaders from the arts, third sector, business and public life.  These include Talat Yaqoob, a director at Equate Scotland, the national expert in gender equality throughout the STEM sectors, and an Equalities Consultant, who since 2016 has been leading work to change cultures in organisations and academia to encourage more women into male dominated fields. 

Talat comments:

“It is an honour to be elected as a fellow and have the opportunity to be part of such an esteemed network. I admire the work of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and look forward to playing my role in its aims to engage a diverse range of people, to create a fairer society and to make Scotland a global leader in tackling social and economic challenges.”

Talat YaqoobDirector at Equate Scotland

Alongside the 54 fellows and eight corresponding fellows, honorary fellowships have also been awarded to actor, producer, singer, author and activist Alan Cumming OBE and historian Niall Ferguson.In the words of Val McDermid, one of Alan’s supporters for Fellowship:

“His range is remarkable – as highly respected actor, director, producer, singer, voice artist, interviewer and writer, his career is both inspirational and aspirational for the young people he supports. His work in support of the LGBTQI community has also been of real significance and his own journey is one that provides hope and stokes ambition in young people in difficult situations. He’s a wonderful communicator who engages directly with a broad spectrum of audiences, talking passionately and thoughtfully about his beliefs and experiences."

Val McDermid

In response to his fellowship, Alan commented:

“We are at a time in history when more than ever before we need to talk, debate, and conclude. It is such an honour to be asked to join such a great group of thinkers and I am so excited to meet the RSE fellows."

Alan Cumming OBEAuthor and activist

Professor Dame Anne Glover, President of the RSE concludes:

“The diverse expertise and experience of our fellows, means that, as an organisation, we are well-placed to respond to the issues of the day with clear informed thinking free from commercial or political influence.  Our new fellows, who we look forward to welcoming, not only hold vast knowledge but also deep experience, keen judgement, boundless enthusiasm and a passion for promoting societal development and change.  By using their talents as a collective, we can often unlock or inspire new potential and unearth fresh solutions to some of the most complex issues Scotland’s society faces today.”

Professor Dame Anne GloverPresident of the RSE

RSE 2020 Fellowship List


Honorary Fellows

Mr Alan Cumming OBE HonFRSE

Actor, Producer, Singer, Author and Activist

Professor Niall Ferguson HonFRSE

Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Corresponding Fellows

Professor David Bates CorrFRSE

Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Professor Joan Cordiner FREng CorrFRSE

Professor of Process Engineering and External Engagement, University of Sheffield

Professor Alan Cowman FRS CorrFRSE

Deputy Director – Science, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Professor Tom Curran FRS CorrFRSE

Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Children's Research Institute

Professor Malik Dahlan Prof. Dr. jur, CorrFRSE

Principal, Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy

Dr Mwapatsa Mipando CorrFRSE

Principal of the College of Medicine, University of Malawi

Dr Viswanathan Mohan CorrFRSE

Director, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation

Professor Mari Ostendorf CorrFRSE

Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Washington


Professor Lynn Abrams FBA FRSE

Professor of Modern History, University of Glasgow

Professor Rosalind Allen FRSE

Professor of Biological Physics, University of Edinburgh

Professor Annie Anderson FRSE

Professor of Public Health Nutrition, University of Dundee

Professor Keith Bell FRSE

ScottishPower Professor of Smart Grids, University of Strathclyde

Professor David Borchers FRSE

Professor of Statistics, University of St Andrews

Ms Christine Borland FRSE


Mr Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE

Director, Imes Group Limited

The Right Honourable Lord Menzies Campbell of Pittenweem CH, CBE, PC, QC FRSE

Chancellor, University of St Andrews

Professor David Crossman FRSE

Dean of Faculty of Medicine, University of St Andrews and Chief Scientist (Health), Scottish Government

Professor Simon Dobson CEng FBCS FRSE

Professor of Computer Science, University of St Andrews

Professor Penny Fielding FRSE

Grierson Professor of English Literature, University of Edinburgh

Professor Robert Frost FBA FRSE

Burnett Fletcher Professor of History, University of Aberdeen

Professor Sebastian Geiger FRSE

Energi Simulation Chair and Director of the Institute of Geoenergy Engineering, Heriot-Watt University

Professor Ian Gilbert FRSE

Head, Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Dundee

Professor Thomas Gillingwater FRSE

Chair of Anatomy, University of Edinburgh

Professor Rebecca Goss FRSC FRSE

Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of St Andrews

Professor Bruce Guthrie FRSE

Professor of General Practice, University of Edinburgh

Dr Katie Hampson FRSE

Wellcome Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow

Dr David Hare FRSE

Independent Non-Executive Director

Professor Ailsa Henderson FRSE

Professor of Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Mr Dominic Hill FRSE

Artistic Director, Citizens Theatre

Professor Mark Huxham FRSE

Professor of Teaching and Research in Environmental Biology, Edinburgh Napier University

Professor Ralf Kaiser FInstP FRSE

Professor of Physics, University of Glasgow

Dr Deborah Keith FRSE

Chair, James Hutton Ltd.

Mr Fergus Linehan FRSE

Festival Director & Chief Executive, Edinburgh International Festival

Professor Margaret Lucas FRSE

Professor of Ultrasonics and Director of Centre for Medical & Industrial Ultrasonics, University of Glasgow

Professor Rory McCrimmon FRSE

Dean, School of Medicine, University of Dundee

Sir Iain McMillan CBE FRSE

Member, Competition Appeal Tribunal

Professor Nasar Meer FAcSS FRSE

Professor of Sociology, University of Edinburgh

Dr Lindsay Montgomery CBE FRSE

Chair, OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) and Visiting Professor, University of Strathclyde

Professor Jill Morrison FRSE

Clerk of Senate and Vice-Principal, University of Glasgow

Dr Joe Morrow CBE, QC FRSE

President, Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland

Professor Simon Mudd FRSE

Professor of Earth Surface Processes, University of Edinburgh

Professor Miratul Muqit FRSE

Professor of Experimental Neurology, University of Dundee

Professor Scott Murray MBE FRSE

Emeritus Professor of Primary Palliative Care, University of Edinburgh

Professor Francisca Mutapi FAAS FZAS FRSE

Professor of Global Health, Infection and Immunity, University of Edinburgh

Dr Sandy Nairn FRSE

Investment Partner and CEO/Chairman, Edinburgh Partners

Mr Neil Oliver FRSE

Broadcaster and Author

Ms Francesca Osowska FRSE

Chief Executive, Scottish Natural Heritage

Professor Beatrice Pelloni FRSE

Professor of Mathematics and Head of School of Mathematical, Heriot-Watt University

Professor Jose Penades Casanova FRSE

Professor of Microbiology, University of Glasgow

Professor Aidan Robson FRSE

Professor of Particle Physics, University of Glasgow

Professor Alexandra Rowe FRSE

Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh

Dr Alison Sheridan FBA FRSE FSA FSA Scot MDAI ACIfA

Emerita Principal Archaeological Research Curator, National Museums of Scotland

Professor Chris Soulsby FRSE

Professor of Hydrology, University of Aberdeen

Professor Chris Speed FRSE

Chair of Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh

The Rt Hon Lord Carloway (Colin Sutherland) FRSE

Lord President and Lord Justice General of Scotland

Professor Stephen Tierney FRSE

Professor of Constitutional Theory, University of Edinburgh

Professor Lesley Torrance FRSE

Director of Science and Professor of Plant Virology, James Hutton Institute

Professor Pieter van West FRSE

Director of the International Centre for Aquaculture Research and Development, University of Aberdeen

Professor Nicholas Watson FRSE

Chair of Disability Research and Director of Centre for Disability Research, University of Glasgow

Professor Nick Weston FIMechE FRSE

General Manager, Renishaw Plc

Mr Andrew Wilson FRSE

Founding Partner, Charlotte Street Partners

Ms Talat Yaqoob FRSE

Director of Equate Scotland and Equalities Consultant