Lothian Birth Cohorts

Professor Ian Deary retires

Professor Deary’s retirement comes after serving 35 years in the Psychology department at the University of Edinburgh, where he joined as lecturer in September 1985 and became Personal Chair in Differential Psychology in 1995.

Professor Ian Deary

Professor Deary is a graduate of Psychology and Medicine from the University of Edinburgh, where he also received his PhD. Before moving to academic psychology, he practiced psychiatry in London and Edinburgh.

Ian has made an outstanding contribution through the years not only to the fields of Cognitive Epidemiology and Cognitive Ageing, in which his work is recognised as world-leading, but also to the department and the School as an inspiring teacher, a supportive mentor and an unfailingly generous colleague who will be very sorely missed.

Professor Holly BraniganHead of School, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Research and influence

Professor Deary has co-authored over 1,477 publications. His research interests cover human mental abilities, the effects of ageing and medical conditions on mental skills, and the impact of cognitive ability on people's lives. He is known for his work in the fields of intelligence, cognitive ageing, and he is a founder of the field of cognitive epidemiology. His influence extends beyond psychology to the fields of genetics and epigenetics, and neuroscience.

He is former Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, co-Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre and founding Director of the Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 and 1936.

Ian’s scientific legacy extends far beyond his many discoveries, awards, publications, and grant successes; he also leaves behind a personal legacy of collegiality, support, fun, and inspiration. He has been a tireless champion of his many colleagues and students, a relentlessly inquisitive and collaborative scientist, a formidable scholar, and a fantastic mentor. Like many, I have learnt a huge amount from Ian, and will sorely miss our day-to-day working. I and everyone in the LBC team is delighted that he'll continue to support the study and wish him a very long, happy, and productive retirement.

Dr Simon CoxDirector, Lothian Birth Cohort studies

Awards and achievements

Professor Deary is an elected Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He is a past president of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, and has held a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award for research into cognitive ageing. He is a recipient of the Chancellor's Award at the University of Edinburgh and Tenovus Scotland Margaret MacLellan Award. He was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year's Honours for services to the social sciences.

He has lifetime achievement awards for his research on intelligence from the Association for Psychological Science, the European Association of Personality Psychology, the International Society for Intelligence Research, and the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences.

Plans for retirement

We suspect that he’ll write a book or two, cycle 10 miles a day, and create a lot of music with his band Dancing Mice. Some of us also hope that he will show off his skills on the Great British Bake-Off!

We are wishing him a long, healthy and happy retirement!

Further information