Independent scientific research organisation The James Hutton Institute has welcomed three new leading figures to its board of directors.

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, Vice Principal at St Andrews University, Professor Ian Wall, former CEO of The EDI Group, and David Gray, Chair of The Gannochy Trust, were formally adopted on to the institute’s board on Wednesday [April 26].

Together, the new directors bring a wealth of experience from across government, education, academia, finance and public engagement to the Hutton’s work across land, crops, water and the environment.

The institute, which has facilities in Dundee and Aberdeen, as well as three research farms, employs more than 500 scientists, making it one of the UK’s biggest research centres.

Ian Gambles, Chair of the institute, says: “I’m delighted to welcome our new board members,” he says. “All three bring valuable experience across society, government, access and diversity, property development, public engagement in science, STEM education, finance and commerce.

“This experience will contribute hugely to our organisation and the science that we do at a time when we have so many truly exciting projects, such as the International Barley Hub and Advanced Plant Growth Centre, as part of the Tay Cities Deal, and our HydroGlen and Just Transition Hub projects, that were awarded Scottish Government funding last year.”

“I would also like the thank our two outgoing board members, Elizabeth Wade and Archie Gibson. They have contributed a huge amount to both our work and sustainability as an organisation through their experience across communications and fundraising, as well as supporting the the development of projects within the Angus region Deal, and we will continue to collaborate with them.”

A researcher by background, Dr Rebekah Widdowfield has worked in academia and the Scottish Government, where she undertook a variety of analytical and policy roles. In 2017, she became Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, leading a programme of change to enhance the Society’s visibility, impact and reach, before becoming Vice Principal, People and Diversity at the University of St Andrews.

Since retiring as CEO of The EDI Group, Professor Ian Wall has chaired two committees on STEM education for the Scottish Government and has held a number of board and court roles across the arts and humanities and is immediate past Chair of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).

He is a Trustee of the National Museum of Scotland and of Newbattle Abbey College, a non-executive Director of Scotland’s Regeneration Forum (SURF), Visiting Professor of Urban Design at Heriot Watt University and a board director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which he invented.

David Gray is a chartered accountant and Chair of The Gannochy Trust. He was a partner in KMG Thomson McLintock (now KPMG), before taking senior roles at Caledonian Paper, Scottish Hydro Electric, SSE and EMEA Capital Markets at DTZ. He is a Fellow of the University of Strathclyde.

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