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New chief executive for Royal Society of Edinburgh

This news post is 9 months old

Professor Skerratt previously worked for the RSE, as well as holding a number of posts across Scotland.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy, has named its new chief executive.

A familiar face to the RSE, Professor Sarah Skerratt was the organisation’s director of programmes for two years, prior to her appointment following a competitive process for the chief executive role.

Before joining the RSE, Professor Skerratt was director of policy engagement at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and a Professor of Rural Society and Policy. 

Her 30-year track-record in research has focused on her passions of promoting resilience and tackling the root causes of disempowerment, poverty, and poor mental health. 

Using robust data, particularly lived-experience evidence, her work has enhanced rural and national policies, making a real difference in rural communities.

Professor Skerratt said: “It is a privilege to be appointed as chief executive of the RSE. The Academy’s Fellowship is made up of some of the greatest thinkers and leaders in Scotland, and as chief executive of Scotland’s National Academy, I am determined to help mobilise the Fellowship - from Shetland to Stranraer and Stornoway to St. Abbs.

“We strive to make knowledge useful at the RSE, and I intend to deliver on that promise. It’s not just about Fellows having the opportunity to give back by sharing their knowledge, but about creating a collaborative community to make the most of the RSE’s unique status as an interdisciplinary fellowship.

“Personally, having access to knowledge as a young person changed my life. Without role models and influencers, we cannot hope to inspire Scotland’s future generations.”

Professor Skerratt is also scientific director of the Scottish Consortium for Rural Research (SCRR) and co-chair for Scotland of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC). 

She is on the advisory board of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), a partner in Scotland’s Social Action Inquiry and is a founding member of the National Rural Mental Health Forum.

Professor Skerratt will take over from interim chief executive Dr Eve Poole in September 2022.

Sir John Ball, president of the RSE, said: “In a highly competitive field, Professor Skerratt demonstrated a compelling understanding of what the RSE needs. 

Her strong leadership track-record, and her broad experience across an impressive 30+ year career makes her the ideal candidate to step into the role of chief executive. 

I’d like to extend my congratulations to Sarah, and I am very much looking forward to working with her.”



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