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YAS Spring Plenary 2017

On the 20th April, the Young Academy of Scotland held its first Plenary meeting of 2017 at the Scottish Government buildings in Edinburgh. The theme of this Spring Plenary was: For a Progressive and Open Society: A YAS Routemap. The day included a Horizon Scanning workshop, led and organised by YAS members who were experts in the subject, in addition to discussion and reflection on YAS’ current projects and activities.  

We were delighted that Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, was able to welcome us officially to the Scottish Government buildings during our morning session and answer some of our questions. She spoke to the membership about being bold and challenging, encouraging us to be free-thinking. She urged YAS, “to be fluid and challenging… [rather than] boxed in by political constraints.”

Leslie Evans

Leslie Evans welcoming YAS to the Scottish Government Buidlings


The morning of our annual Spring Plenary began with an open discussion about YAS’ current role, activities and governance, as well as an update on upcoming projects and changes. However, the bulk of the morning session was dedicated to reflecting and discussing YAS’ current Working Groups and their activities; each group made a short presentation aided by visual posters prepared prior to the day.

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The Knowledge & Power group presentation


Our afternoon session took shape in the form of a Horizon Scanning workshop. Led by YAS members Victoria Loughlan, Kate Walker and Maria Dornelas and Alice Konig, the workshop involved a presentation of data collected from YAS members and group sessions and presentations, where YAS members helped to explore and begin to create an outcomes-focused workplan for the Young Academy. We invited several externals to help facilitate the discussion around the ideas for this workplan including Sir John Elvidge, Doreen Grove, Fiona Watson, Brad McKay, Sheila Rowan and Jane-Frances Kelly.

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 Our three groups with external advisers focusing on ‘inputs’, ‘outputs’ and ‘outcomes’ as part of our workshop

A quick look at our afternoon session


The results of the Horizon Scanning workshop are being reviewed and we hope to use them effectively towards creating a more purposeful future for YAS and shape our forward plans.

You can see all the social media activity from the day using the hashtag #YASpring