The main man: Gerry McCormac

Professor Gerry McCormac took over as principal of Stirling University last year, after gaining a reputation for strengthening links between business and academics as Pro-Vice Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast.

He graduated with a BSc in physics and geology in 1980 from Ulster Polytechnic (now the University of Ulster) and obtained a PhD in space physics in 1984. Appointed director of the radiocarbon research facility at Queen's in 1990, he became head of the school of archaeology and palaeoecology in 1998 and was appointed Pro-Vice Chancellor in 2001, assuming responsibility for communications, external affairs and economic development.

He has developed a significant research record in space physics and carbon dating and worked with Nasa on a satellite programme while at the University of Michigan.

He is married to Louise, a chartered physiotherapist, with three sons.

He is currently a member of Universities Scotland, Universities UK, and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Executive Committee.