Professor Andrea Nolan announced as Convener of Universities Scotland

Universities Scotland, the organisation which represents all 19 of Scotland’s higher education institutions welcomes Professor Andrea Nolan as its Convener for a period of two years, from today, 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2018.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at Edinburgh Napier University, was elected to the post by her peer group of Principals. She is the first woman to hold the role of Convener at Universities Scotland. Professor Nolan is already an active member of Universities Scotland, having served as Convener of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee.

Professor Nolan takes on the role at a very challenging and highly fluid time for higher education with the Brexit vote to leave the EU adding to other policy and funding challenges in Scotland and the UK.

Commenting on her appointment, Professor Nolan said:

“I am excited to take on the Convenership of Universities Scotland at a time of many opportunities and challenges for higher education. I feel privileged to play a part in what is a truly internationally leading sector, one in which Scotland can take great pride. The commitment of our staff, the diversity of the sector and its excellence together enable our universities to make a significant contribution to Scottish society, culture and economy and on the world stage.

“Building on our platform of excellence in teaching, research and knowledge exchange, I will work with my colleagues in partnership with our many stakeholders to increase accessibility to Higher Education for underrepresented students and communities and to support businesses, public and third sectors to innovate and internationalise through our research and graduates.

“I seek to ensure long-term sustainable and competitive funding of higher education here in Scotland to enable delivery of our ambitions and maintenance of our world-standing in Higher Education. Higher education will also need a clear voice in Brexit negotiations over the coming years so that Scotland continues to have access to talent and ideas that we value so highly from across Europe and beyond.”

Professor Nolan takes over the Convenership role from Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal at the University of Dundee who served two consecutive terms in the role from 2012.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal of the University of Stirling takes on the role of Vice Convener of Universities Scotland. He also takes up the post on 1 August and serves for a two year period.

Professor Gerry McCormac said:

“I am delighted to take on the role of Vice-Convener of Universities Scotland and look forward to working alongside Professor Andrea Nolan in continuing to develop and steer the work of Universities Scotland through the challenging times that lie ahead. Maintaining high quality research across the sector will be key to the continued success of universities in Scotland and we will do all we can to ensure that this happens.”



• Professor Andrea Nolan is the first woman to be elected as Convener of Universities Scotland.

• Professor Petra Wend has been Vice Convener at Universities Scotland for the past four years from summer 2012-2016. Other female Vice Conveners in Universities Scotland’s history include Professor Dame Joan Stringer, former Principal at Edinburgh Napier University.

Biography: Professor Andrea Nolan OBE 

Andrea became Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University in July 2013 following a range of leadership roles in the University of Glasgow including Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (1999 – 2004), Vice Principal for Learning & Teaching (2004 – 2009) and Senior Vice-Principal & Deputy Vice Chancellor (2009 – 2013).

Andrea graduated as a veterinary surgeon from Trinity College Dublin and after a short time in veterinary practice, embarked on an academic career which took her to the Universities of Cambridge, Bristol and the Technical University of Munich. She was appointed Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology in 1998 and is an established research leader in the field of animal pain. Andrea is a board member of the following: Higher Education Statistics Agency, Universities and Colleges Employers Association, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Board, Interface Advisory Board and the Moredun Foundation.

Andrea is also a Trustee for Medical Research Scotland, for two animal welfare charities,  and is a member of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Council.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies and an honorary life member of the Association for Veterinary Teachers & Research Workers.

Andrea was awarded an honorary OBE in 2013.