Dynamic Earth announces new chairman

The former principal of the University of Dundee has been appointed chairman of Dynamic Earth in what the top visitor attraction has hailed as a “huge coup”.

The attraction this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. Picture: Greg Macvean.

Pete Downes was principal and vice-chancellor at the university from 2009 until December last year.

The professor is credited with being one of the UK’s leading biochemists, and brings more than ten years’ experience in the commercial sector.

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Awarded a knighthood in 2015, he is also praised for the university gaining global recognition in life sciences, and achieving record levels of research funding under his leadership.

He also played a key role in bringing the V&A to Dundee, and was a founding partner of Design Dundee, which delivered the V&A project.

Downes said: “I was hugely attracted to the concept of Dynamic Earth at a period in the planet’s history when it is deeply threatened by human activity and when it could not be more important for people – especially young people - to understand its origins and how it works.”

He also said trustees and staff he met “were not resting on their laurels, but keen to develop Dynamic Earth as an informative and entertaining attraction with an underlying educational mission of great significance”.

John Simpson, chief executive officer at Dynamic Earth, said Downes’ “vast experience in organisational leadership, education, public communication of science and scientific creativity will be of huge benefit to our business”.