New chief for Edinburgh’s workplace health institute

Rob Aitken takes the helm after four decades at the Institute of Occupational Medicine. Picture: Contributed
Rob Aitken takes the helm after four decades at the Institute of Occupational Medicine. Picture: Contributed
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An Edinburgh-based research facility that focuses on workplace health has appointed a new chief executive.

Professor Rob Aitken, who has worked at the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) for four decades, succeeds Dr Phil Woodhead at the helm of the organisation, which was established in 1969 and operates as a charity.

Aitken spent four years running a research, consultancy and training company for the IOM in Singapore, and was previously director of strategic consulting at the organisation, taking responsibility for the launch in 2006 of its Safenano centre, tasked with “de-risking” the emerging industry in nanotechnology.

READ MORE: Edinburgh scientists mark decade of nanotech research

Located at the Riccarton research park on the western fringes of Edinburgh, the Safenano facility provides industry, academia and government bodies with expertise and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to address risk and safety issues over the technology, which can be used to make composite materials stronger and lighter, improve the effectiveness of food packaging and produce more efficient solar panels.

Aitken said: “Programmes like Safenano have a global impact and make a significant contribution to worldwide innovation – they revolutionise industry and make what once seemed unachievable, a safe and sustainable reality.

“By following this model and exploring new fields, the IOM will continue to shape the development and use of new processes, products and materials.”

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