Two new appointments: Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Docent at Åbo Akademi University

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) brings together distinguished individuals from the arts, business, science and technology and academia worlds to advance learning and knowledge in Scottish public life. The breadth of the Fellowship – which includes over 1600 individuals from the UK and abroad – enables the RSE to provide a wide range of leadership and expertise.

Each year the RSE undertakes a rigorous five-stage nomination and election process to appoint around 60 new Fellows. I was delighted to learn last week that I am one of those elected in 2017. Also elected in 2017 are Val McDermid, James Naughtie, Professor Iain Stewart and Kirsty Wark. HRH The Duke of Cambridge also joins the cohort as a Royal Honorary Fellow.

However, I was most thrilled to see one of my oldest friends named in the press release issued by the RSE on 15th February. Professor William Rampen, or Win (as he is more usually known) is Chairman and Founder of Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd and holds a Chair in Energy Storage in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. I first met Win in 1984 when we were both students at the Université de Nantes. While Win was studying engineering in Nantes, I was there to undertake the third year of my French degree from the University of Birmingham. If anyone had told us at the time that we would both be elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh thirty-two years later in 2017, we would have struggled to take this prediction seriously!

There is further information about my Fellowship in the Edinburgh Napier University news item ‘RSE Fellowship for award-winning academic‘.

Åbo Akademi University logoAlso last week I learnt that I have been appointed Docent in Information Studies within the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, Åbo Akademi, Finland.

Finnish legislation allows universities to award the title of docent to ‘a person who has comprehensive knowledge of his/her own field, a capacity for independent research or artistic work demonstrated through publication or some other manner, and good teaching skills’ (Universities Act, § 89). The scientific competence for a docent is considered to be double that demonstrated in the award of a doctorate, and this is externally assessed by two international experts in the field.

This appointment formalises my long-term relationship with staff in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, Åbo Akademi, particularly Professor Gunilla Widén, with whom I have collaborated on a number of projects since we first met earlier in our careers as doctoral students. I am looking forward to strengthening further the links between Gunilla’s research group at Åbo Akademi and mine at Edinburgh Napier University.

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