Other Significant Positions Held



  • President of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (2013- )
  • Chair of the Advisory Council of the University of Heidelberg: (2007- )
  • Member of the Strategic Council of the University of Geneva: (2009- )
  • Council of the Royal Society (2013- )
  • Chair of the Royal Society Science Policy Centre (2012- )


  • At the University of Edinburgh, successively Head of the Department of Geology and Geophysics (1986-92), Provost of Science and Engineering (1992-98) and Vice Principal of the University (1998-2008).
  • Member of the UK Prime Ministers Council for Science and Technology (UK top-level S&T advisory committee – 2004-2011)
  • Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1993-1999)
  • President of the Quaternary Research Association (1991-1994)
  • President of the Geological Society of Edinburgh (1992-95)
  • Member of Natural Environment Research Council, Chair of its Earth Science and Technology Board and of its Polar Science Board (1993-1998)
  • Royal Society: Council: 1995-97; Chair of its Earth Science and Astronomy Committee: 1994-1996; Research Grant Board: 1994-98; Chair of Hooke Committee for Royal Society Exhibitions: 1998-2000)
  • UK Representative to the International Union of Quaternary Science: (1997-2000)
  • UK Representative to the International Geological Congress (1998)
  • Chair of the Senate of the British University in Dubai (2005-2009)
  • Member of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and chairman of its Research Advisory Committee (1997-2003)
  • Chair of the Research Policy Committee of the League of European Research Universities (2002-2009)
  • Board of the University of Iceland Earth Science Institute (1999-2005)
  • Chair of comprehensive University reviews: University of Lund (2008); University College Dublin (2011)
  • Member of the independent group reviewing the so-called “Climategate” affair (2010)



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