The RSE Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of 53 new members. The group, comprising 31 women and 22 men in their early-to-mid careers from across Scotland, make up the fifth intake cohort of new members since YAS was founded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011. They will join YAS’s existing members in realising its mission ‘to achieve transformative societal change through citizenship, innovation, collaboration, evidence, and leadership’.
The cohort includes three members who have been appointed through YAS’s At-Risk Academic/Refugee (ARAR) membership initiative. The ARAR initiative was launched in 2016 to recognise young professionals of outstanding talent from Scotland’s refugee and displaced migrant communities. YAS has committed to reserving membership spaces for at-risk academics and refugees in its recruitment rounds until at least 2020.
Unique among the growing number of young academies worldwide, YAS encourages membership applications from individuals in all sectors of society. This year, YAS is pleased to welcome members joining from business, the non-profit sector and public service, who include:
-Pinar Aksu, Admin and Development Officer at the Maryhill Integration network and a human rights campaigner, who develops activities to support the integration of refugees into Scotland’s communities.
-Jonathan Rayner, Aviation Director, Edinburgh Airport, who is responsible for the aeronautical income stream and passenger growth at Edinburgh Airport.
-Catriona Wallace, Head of Early Years, Scottish Book Trust, who oversees the vision and direction of Bookbug, the national early years literacy programme.
The new cohort also includes a diverse group of academics with specialisms ranging from astrobiology to theology. In addition to academic achievements, the selection committee placed significant emphasis on public outreach and interdisciplinary collaboration. Among the new academic members are:
-Claire Cousins, Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellow and Lecturer, University of St Andrews, an astrobiologist seeking to understand how planetary environments support microbial life.
-Iain Donald, Lecturer in Interactive Media Production and Enterprise Leader, Abertay University, who researches the intersection of game, digital media, and history.
-Raphael Heffron, Professor for Global Energy Law and Sustainability, University of Dundee, whose research focuses on achieving a just transition to a low-carbon economy.
Professor Nasar Meer, YAS co-chair, commented, “This is an incredibly talented cohort that brings to YAS a variety of expertise which promises to both enrich and expand our wide-ranging activities. We are delighted to welcome them and look forward to working collaboratively in the pursuit of transformative societal change”.
Ms Kate Walker, YAS co-chair said, “Our new members are drawn from all sectors of society but share a common goal: to address the most pressing issues facing Scottish society and beyond. By convening members drawn from higher education, public service, the private and third sectors, we aim to facilitate interdisciplinary activities in the service of Scotland and its people. We look forward to welcoming our new members and supporting their contributions.”
Professor Dame Anne Glover, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh commented “I am pleased to welcome this diverse and accomplished group of new members to the Young Academy of Scotland. I also congratulate the Young Academy on their continuing commitment to bringing at-risk academic and refugee professionals into its membership, and look forward to seeing the contributions they make to the Academy’s activities.”