The RSE announces 2021 Fellows

Professor Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health and Director of Global Health Governance Programme at Edinburgh University

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  • 87 new Fellows revealed from across sciences, arts, education, business and public life
  • A number of the new Fellows have played a vital role during the pandemic

THE RSE (Royal Society of Edinburgh), Scotland’s national academy, has revealed its newly selected 2021 Fellows. These new Fellows will join the RSE’s current roll of around 1,600 leading thinkers and practitioners from Scotland and beyond, whose work has a significant impact on our nation.

This year’s cohort includes many new Fellows who have made a positive impact during the global Covid-19 pandemic: either as a result of their academic research or through their contribution to arts or for the role they have played in communicating complex information with the public. Those who are elected to the Fellowship have undergone a rigorous assessment of their achievements, professional standing and the contribution they and their work make to wider society.  

The list includes many leading academics such as Professor Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health and Director of Global Health Governance Programme at Edinburgh University. Professor Sridhar, whose research considers the effectiveness of public health interventions, has become a household name in the last 12 months as a public health expert during the coronavirus pandemic.

Also becoming a Fellow is Louise Macdonald OBE, who has been instrumental in helping to shape Scotland’s future for young people through her work as CEO at Young Scot, and has recently been appointed as National Director of Institute of Directors Scotland. She has also co-chaired the RSE Post Covid-19 Futures Commission’s Public Debate and Participation Working Group and the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls.

Founding Partner and Executive Chairman of leading Law Firm Harper Macleod LLP Professor Lorne Crerar CBE has also been elected. He is an Emeritus Professor of Banking Law at University of Glasgow, author of “The Crerar Review“ which reformed scrutiny of public services, and the creator of the reform proposals for residential property transactions, resulting in the current home report system.

Professor Sridhar commented: “It is a great honour to have been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Society has a long and esteemed history, but I’m particularly supportive of their recent work in raising the profile of women scientists. Scientists have played a vital role in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and it is scientific advances which will ultimately provide the path out of the pandemic.”

Louise Macdonald OBE said: “I am honoured to have been selected as an RSE Fellow alongside so many remarkable people doing such extraordinary work here in Scotland and around the globe. I look forward to being actively involved in the work of the RSE, and in particular sharing its work and creating new opportunities for collaboration with a wider audience, including diverse young people.”

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE added:I am delighted and feel very privileged to have been elected as a Fellow. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the work of RSE which is so important particularly in these challenging times.”

Alongside the 79 Ordinary Fellows, is Honorary Fellow Baroness Onora O’Neill of Bengarve,  who is known globally for her work in political philosophy and ethics, and seven Corresponding Fellows from across the world. While these Fellows are not based in Scotland, their work is vital in addressing the most important challenges facing our country. One such Fellow is Dr Mhoia Leng, who was Scotland’s first palliative care consultant and is now a lead advisor on palliative care for international agencies including the World Health Organisation.

Professor Dame Anne Glover, President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh said: “As Scotland’s national academy we recognise excellence across a diverse range of expertise and experience, and its effect on Scottish society. This impact is particularly clear this year in the latest cohort of new Fellows which includes scientists who are pioneering the way we approach the coronavirus, those from the arts who have provided the rich cultural experience we have all been missing, and some who have demonstrated strong leadership in guiding their organisations and communities through this extraordinary time.

“Through uniting these great minds from different walks of life, we can discover creative solutions to some of the most complex issues that Scotland faces. A warm welcome is extended to all of our new Fellows.”


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