Dundee Principal Professor Iain Gillespie elected Universities Scotland Convener

Universities Scotland, the representative organisation for Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions, is delighted to announce that Professor Iain Gillespie has been elected to the role of Convener for a period of two years, from 1 August 2023.

Professor Gillespie is Principal & Vice Chancellor at the University of Dundee and was elected to the role by his fellow Principals. Professor Gillespie succeeds Professor Dame Sally Mapstone who stands down from the role to become President of Universities UK.

Professor Gillespie is currently the Convener of Universities Scotland’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee, a role he has held since August 2022. Professor Gillespie is also a Trustee of UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and a board member of  Dundee Design Ltd, Genome Canada’s Science & Industry Committee and Universities and Colleges Employer Association Scottish Committee. Professor Gillespie is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Biology.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Gillespie said:

“I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Convener and it’s an honour to be elected by my counterparts at world-leading institutions across Scotland. This is an important time for the sector in Scotland: we are dealing with a number of pressures from the unsustainable funding of the sector allied to wider issues such as the cost-of-living crisis and a climate emergency.

“The role of universities has never been more important and integral to the nation’s future success. Our teaching, our research and our role as anchor institutions within our communities are vital. As Convener I look forward to working with my fellow Principals to make the positive case for higher education to government at all levels, emphasising that universities are key to powering Scotland’s economic and social recovery.”

Welcoming the news, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:

I am delighted to see Professor Gillespie elected as Universities Scotland’s new Convener. Iain has already been very active in championing the contribution that research and innovation make to building a better world, and it’s great that he will now step up to a wider role as the voice of the university sector. All of us at Universities Scotland are looking forward to working with Iain as our new Convener as he succeeds Dame Sally who has been a marvellous Convener as well as Vice Convener previously.”

Professor Dame Sally Mapstone who will become Universities UK President on 1 August 2023 said:

“It’s been an honour to serve as Convener, working with my fellow Principals to best represent our outstanding university sector. I look forward to working with Iain to ensure Scotland’s universities are represented and heard across the UK.”

Paying credit to Professor Mapstone’s time as Convener, Professor Gillespie said:

“Sally has been a fantastic, collegiate Convener as the sector in Scotland. Her election as UUK President is recognition of her commitment to working for the interests of not just her own university, but the wider higher education sector across Scotland and the UK.”

Sir Paul Grice, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen Margaret University will continue as Universities Scotland’s Vice Convener having been elected to the role in 2022.

Professor Gillespie’s election as Convener triggered an election for his vacated position as Convener of our Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee. Professor Stephen Decent, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University has been elected by Principals and will start this role on 1 August 2023.