Dundee University's principal has been elected to serve as the new head of Universities Scotland

Professor Iain Gillespie will succeed Dame Sally Mapstone in August

The principal of Dundee University has been elected as the new convener of the organisation representing Scotland's 19 higher education institutions.

Professor Iain Gillespie will succeed Dame Sally Mapstone, the principal of St Andrews University, when he takes on the role as head of Universities Scotland on August 1.

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He was elected by his fellow principals to serve a two-year term in the top job, having been convener of Universities Scotland’s research and knowledge exchange committee since August 2022.

Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of DundeeProfessor Iain Gillespie, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Dundee
Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Dundee

Prof 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.”

Prof Gillespie is a trustee of UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and a board member of Dundee Design Ltd, Genome Canada’s science and industry committee and Universities and Colleges Employer Association Scottish committee.

He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Biology.

Dame Sally, who will become president of Universities UK on August 1, said: “It’s been an honour to serve as convener, working with my fellow Principals to best represent our outstanding university sector.

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"I look forward to working with Iain to ensure Scotland’s universities are represented and heard across the UK.”

Professor Gillespie said Dame Sally had been a "fantastic, collegiate convener" .

Sir Paul Grice, principal of Queen Margaret University, will continue as Universities Scotland’s vice convener, having been elected to the role last year.



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