Business leaders elected to Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Fellowship

09/04/2024

Leading business figures have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, joining outstanding experts in other fields.

As well as achievements in business, new Fellows are elected for their individual excellence in a wide range of fields such as physics, chemistry, informatics, literature, law, and social sciences. They will be joining the 1,800 current Fellows of the RSE, Scotland’s National Academy.

Ana Stewart, tech entrepreneur, board member of the Scottish Football Association and founder of Pathways Forward, an initiative that helps women forge their way in business, joins the RSE Fellowship.

She said: “I am humbled and honoured to have been elected as a Fellow of the RSE. Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of our economy and we all have a part to play in shaping our society into one that welcomes all of our entrepreneurs through every stage of their journey, regardless of gender or background. I look forward to working with other Fellows to help shape Scotland’s future in this endeavour.”

Gillian Docherty has also joined the Fellowship of the RSE. She is recognised as an outstanding leader in the field of data technology, and has worked to champion innovation, digital skills and community engagement with technology. She serves as the current Chief Commercial Officer of the University of Strathclyde, the chair of CodeBase and is the president of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Professor William Buchanan OBE of Edinburgh Napier University is a world-renowned cyber security expert and computer scientist. His own research website asecuritysite.com has been described as a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of cyber security. Among a range of other achievements, he has been the inspiration behind at least four university spinout companies: Zonefox, Cyacomb, Symphonic, and Memcrypt.

Professor Buchanan said: “It is such an honour to be acknowledged by an organisation which prides itself on recognising the finest scientific and technological minds in our country. Scotland is a land of innovation and enterprise and has built its reputation on its excellence in education, enterprise, and industry.

“My love for innovation, research, and, especially, teaching will never leave me. I feel honoured to teach and research the topics that I care deeply about and to live and work in one of the most beautiful, cultured and educated cities on the planet. Scotland is truly the best place in the world to build the future, and our four amazing cyber security spinouts are a testament to this.”

Also elected was Mike Welch OBE. He is an entrepreneur, president and CEO of Treadsy and founder and chairman of The Welch Trust.

Responding to his election, he said: “Becoming a Fellow is an incredible honour, and means I am following in the footsteps of two iconic figures to me. Robert William Thomson, the Scottish inventor who dreamt up and patented the pneumatic tyre in 1847, in the very same street that we have our home in Edinburgh. And Sir Tom Farmer, one of the world’s foremost retailers of tyres, who mentored me and brought me to the great city of Edinburgh at the advent of the internet to build Kwik-Fit online. Through their example and the privilege of becoming a Fellow, I feel humbled and motivated to continue my work as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.”

Patrick Macdonald, chair of the Institute of Directors, also joins this year’s cohort. A highly skilled entrepreneur with a career ranging from the Ministry of Defence to leadership of companies such as John Menzies and Moneypenny, he has also founded the School for CEOs, and has further supported those in business in a range of global senior leadership roles.

President of the RSE, Professor Sir John Ball PRSE, said: “It is an immense honour to extend a warm welcome to each of our distinguished new Fellows.

“Individually, they embody exceptional dedication and accomplishment spanning multiple sectors and disciplines. Collectively, they demonstrate a profound commitment and determination to make meaningful contributions through their endeavours.

“From groundbreaking research that redefines our understanding to the creative pursuits that inspire and enrich our cultural landscape, the RSE proudly embraces the brightest minds, leveraging their unique expertise and perspectives for the betterment of society.

“As Scotland’s National Academy, we remain committed to mobilising a diverse array of expertise to confront society’s most pressing challenges, and I am certain that our new Fellows will prove invaluable assets to the RSE.”

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