Staff news

New Principal starts tenure by teaching

Professor Peter Mathieson will begin his tenure as the next Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University by teaching students.

A specialist in renal medicine, Professor Mathieson, will teach second-year medical students as part of their undergraduate degree programme. He will lecture on kidney physiology and disease.

Inspiring students

Professor Mathieson joins Edinburgh from the University of Hong Kong where he was President and Vice-Chancellor, having previously been Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol.

“I’m passionate about teaching – the best teachers can be instrumental in inspiring people to go on to do great things,” said Professor Mathieson, who holds a first class Honours degree in Medicine from the University of London and a PhD from the University of Cambridge.

 “Of the awards I’ve been fortunate enough to receive, I am most proud of being voted Teacher of the Year by Cambridge medical students in 1992 and Top Teacher 2011-12 by foundation doctors at University Hospitals Bristol. The standard of teaching we as universities deliver is central to the overall quality of the student experience.”

Professor Peter Mathieson

Strong legacy

Reflecting on the commencement of his new role at Edinburgh, he said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s great universities into an exciting new chapter. I have been left a very strong legacy on which to build during what are stimulating and challenging times in the world of Higher Education.

“One of my earliest priorities will be to meet and speak to as many students, members of staff, alumni and other stakeholders as possible to help me to develop a sense of the main themes I want to concentrate on in the early days of my time in post.

“Our main objective will always be to conduct world-class teaching and research, but there are so many areas for consideration – how we continue to ensure that the University remains globally relevant, how we widen access to the University, how we work most productively with our partners and neighbours in this great city. It’s going to be a hugely exciting time.”

Edinburgh links

Professor Mathieson is married to Tina, an orthodontist. They have two grown-up children – a son and a daughter – and a nine-month-old grandson.

He feels a strong sense of connection to Edinburgh. His father, a merchant seaman with Trinity House, was Edinburgh-born and died when Professor Mathieson was just seven years old.

“I have few memories of him but one of the ones I do have is visiting Edinburgh Castle with him when I was a very young boy,” he said. “I feel he would have been very proud to know that I would go on to take up this role at the University of Edinburgh.

“As a result of my father’s job, we moved around a lot. I was born in Colchester, then spent time in Swansea and was later brought up in Penzance in Cornwall where I attended a state grammar school. I was the first in my family to go to University.

Enabling opportunities

“It’s now almost 40 years since I started my medical degree and I’m a great believer in the transformative power of education. I want to ensure that we continue to give other people the same opportunities as I had.”

Professor Mathieson will succeed Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea as Principal and Vice-Chancellor, who is standing down from the role after more than 15 years at the helm of Scotland’s largest university.