Media release: Local science teacher lands role advising Government

ABERDEEN teacher, Stuart Farmer, has been appointed to the Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC), advising the Scottish Government on a range of science-related topics.

Mr Farmer, who is head of Physics at Robert Gordon’s College, has been appointed to the SSAC along with 16 other members from the science and business community in the country who provide independent advice including highlighting new breakthroughs that could impact on public policy, and identifying ways to strengthen the links between Scotland’s research and industry sectors.

Mr Farmer said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to the SSAC. Scotland’s performance in Higher Education, industry and wealth creation can benefit greatly from having a population which has the foundation of a good school science education.

“I hope my wide experience in science education and here at Robert Gordon’s College will allow me to help take the work of the SSAC forward in the next few years.”

Mrs Jennifer Montgomery, acting head of Robert Gordon’s College, added: “We are very pleased that Mr Farmer’s experience in and commitment to Science in Scotland has been recognised with this prestigious appointment.”

Professor Muffy Calder, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland and co-chair of the SSAC, commented: “By bringing together people in a range of scientific and business fields we can provide the best available advice to Ministers and ensure Scotland’s economy and people benefits fully from our world-leading research base.

“I look forward to working with both our new and existing members as we explore the range of scientific and technological developments taking place in Scotland and how they can best inform evidence-based policy-making within the Scottish Government.”

Welcoming the appointment of new members, Minister for Science, Alasdair Allan, added: “The Scottish Science Advisory Council continues to attract very high calibre members, strengthening our reputation as a nation of science.

“The Scottish Government values independent advice on a range of scientific areas, and I look forward to hearing more about key issues of interest to the council over the coming months.”

Professional Status Awards

Teachers of Physics at Robert Gordon’s College – Mrs Dawn Pirie and Mr Tim Browett are amongst the first teachers in the UK to be awarded Registered Scientist (RSci).

RSci is aimed at raising the professional standing of those working to advance science and its applications and runs alongside the prestigious Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach).

The award was made by Association for Science Education on behalf of the Science Council as a reflection of evident commitment to their profession.

The ASE looks for candidates who “demonstrate that their recipients are at the forefront of their profession and have the knowledge, experience and professionalism sought by employers and demanded by the public”.

Mr Browett said: “We spent large amounts of our own time attending CPD events and are now sharing our experience and ideas by delivering teacher CPD sessions both locally and nationally as well as sharing resources with the wider Physics teacher community.”

Mrs Pirie and Mr Browett are currently amongst only four teachers in Scotland to have received the Registered Scientist designation and join Mr Farmer, their head of department, who is one of only six Chartered Science Teachers in Scotland.


Media contact:

Shelley Lee, Robert Gordon’s College, 01224 646346 / 611239, Email:

Notes for editors from Robert Gordon’s College:

* Photo of Stuart Farmer supplied with release.

* Stuart Farmer lives in Aberdeen and joined Robert Gordon’s College in August 1986.

* Mr Tim Browett along with Mr Stuart Farmer the Head of Physics at Robert Gordon’s College represented the UK at the Science on Stage teacher conference in Copenhagen last year.

* Teacher of Biology, Miss Jess Power is studying a Masters in Astrophysics and working towards Professional Registration in Physics. Miss Power also made a fellow last year of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Notes for editors from SSAC:

* Appointments to the SSAC, which do not receive any remuneration, are made for a three year period renewable for a further two. The appointments were made following a public advertisement and selection was by a panel chaired by Professor Calder. All appointments are made on merit and in order to achieve a balance across the scientific community.

* The SSAC is not a formal public advisory body, and there are no legal requirements in connection with the manner appointments are made or the way its conducts its business.

* However, the arrangements for the SSAC draw strongly on the original Nolan recommendations in connection with appointments to public bodies. Thus, appointees’ political activity (if there is any to be declared) will be made public

* The SSAC was established in 2002. After being initially managed by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, responsibility for the SSAC was transferred to the Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser on 1 January 2007.

* The remit of the SSAC is to provide independent advice and recommendations on science strategy, policy and priorities. As experts close to the cutting-edge of developments, they will provide advice on the economic and wider opportunities arising from science and technology, and also on the impact of new scientific thought.

* The SSAC comprises 17 members (four new and 13 existing). In addition to Professor Muffy Calder (SSAC co-chair), the other existing members of the Council are:

  • Dr Chris Masters, SSAC independent co-chair, chair of Energy Assets Group PLC and of the Festival City Theatres Trust in Edinburgh
  • Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser, DEFRA
  • Dr John Brown, chair of BTG plc and CXR Biosciences Ltd
  • Professor Nigel Brown, senior vice-principal, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Ian Diamond, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen
  • Professor James Hough, Kelvin Professor of Natural Philosophy and associate director of the Institute for GravitationalResearchUniversity of Glasgow
  • Dr Russell G Greig, president and founder of Greig Biotechnology Global Consulting, Inc.
  • Professor Julian D C Jones, deputy principal for Strategy and Resources,Heriot Watt University
  • Mrs Angela Mathis, chief executive, ThinkTank Maths
  • Professor George Salmond, Professor of Microbiology, Cambridge University
  • Professor Marian Scott, Professor Environmental Statistics,University of Glasgow
  • Professor Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London

MEDIA RELEASE posted by RGC. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Shelley Lee