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CaSE welcomes new Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland

09 Jun 2016

CaSE Director Dr Sarah Main welcomes Professor Sheila Rowan MBE as the new Scottish Chief Scientific Advisor.

I’m delighted to welcome Professor Sheila Rowan to the role of Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland. I’m sure she will be a great asset to Scotland in providing a scientific perspective to discussions in the Scottish Parliament. I look forward to working with her and supporting her in that role. 

It’s great news for Scotland that a Chief Scientific Advisor has been appointed after 18 months of the post lying vacant. During that time, the Scottish Parliament has reached decisions on genetic modification and fracking, amongst others. I am sure that Members of the Scottish Parliament will welcome information from Professor Rowan as an independent CSA to help inform their debate on issues such as these going forward. 

Chief Scientific Advisors provide vital scientific context to political deliberations. They tell us they are often in demand in times of crisis – volcanic ash, nuclear incidents, spread of disease – but can find it harder to make their voices heard during ‘business as usual’. Yet we know that a little research can go a long way in creating effective policy. And that being prepared for future trends and challenges must be better than being caught unawares. 

So I wish Professor Rowan every success in her role. To help her, I hope the academic community will provide her with the network she needs to access expertise across the many fronts of research endeavour, and I hope the Scottish Government will be alive to her recommendations in times of calm as well as times of trouble. 

You can read CaSE’s 2015 briefing on strengthening the use of research and evidence in policymaking here.