College of Science & Engineering

Edinburgh Academics join independent Scottish Science Advisory Council

Prof Andrew Mount and Prof Susan Rosser from the College of Science and Engineering are set to form part of a revitalised Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) to advise Scottish Ministers from 1 February.

The Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) is Scotland’s highest level science advisory body providing independent advice and recommendations on science strategy, policy and priorities to the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland (CSA).  

The appointments follow an internal review of the SSAC’s role and remit, including how it provides advice on science-related issues to Government and the Chief Scientific Adviser.

In total there are seven new members to the SSAC:

  • Professor Paul Boyle CBE FBA FRSE, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester (Chair of SSAC)
  • Prof Iain Hunter, Research Professor of Molecular Microbiology, University of Strathclyde
  • Prof Colin McInnes MBE FRSE, James Watt Chair, Professor of Engineering Science, University of Glasgow
  • Prof Anna Meredith, Professor of Zoological and Conservation Medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • Prof Andrew Mount FRSC, Professor of Physical Electrochemistry and Dean of Research, University of Edinburgh
  • Prof Susan Rosser, Professor of Synthetic Biology, University of  Edinburgh
  • Dr Tara Spires-Jones, Reader and Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Edinburgh

The new members of the SSAC bring a wealth of science expertise, from research in space engineering and Alzheimer’s disease, to experience of working with industry and organisations across the UK and in Europe.

Science Minister Dr Alasdair Allan welcomed the appointments:

Science is at the heart of much of the Scottish Government’s work, driving our economy and improving our quality of life. These new appointments will help ensure we have access to the very best scientific advice across a diverse range of policy areas. It is also heartening to see that nearly half of the new appointments are female scientists at a time when we need more young women to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. We are currently recruiting for a new Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland who will work closely with the SSAC once appointed.

The SSAC is an important source of science advice, and complements the other science advisers available to the Scottish Government, including the Chief Scientist (Health) and the Chief Scientific Adviser for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment. 

Further information

Biographical Notes of Current SSAC Members

Original article:


Appointments are for two years, from 1 February 2016 to 31 January 2018.

The first meeting of the new SSAC will be on 4 March, 2016.  The agenda will focus on the SSAC’s priorities for the next two years.

As well as the seven members announced today, there are a further three ex-officio members of the SSAC: Professor Andrew Morris (Chief Scientist, Health), Professor Louise Heathwaite (Chief Scientific Adviser for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment), and the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland. The CSA Scotland post is currently being recruited with a deadline of 29 February.

The SSAC has previously been co-Chaired by the CSA Scotland. Following a review of the SSAC’s functions, carried out in 2015, it was agreed that an independent Chair of SSAC should be recruited. The CSA Scotland will remain an ex-officio member of SSAC.

The review made recommendations to help maximise the impact of the Council. As a result the SSAC comprises a smaller number of members than before, allowing for a more focussed but still well-connected council.