Professor takes Scottish Funding Council role

Professor Brown has a wealth of experience. Picture: David Moir

Professor Brown has a wealth of experience. Picture: David Moir

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THE emeritus professor of politics at Edinburgh University has been hailed by the Education Minister after being named as the new chair of the Scottish Funding Council.

Professor Alice Brown, 67, will take over from John McClelland at the helm of the public body in charge of distributing funding to colleges and universities in Scotland.

Education Minister Michael Russell said her “extensive experience” made her the ideal candidate for the job.

She was born on September 30, 1946 and after leaving school aged 15, worked in insurance and then an Edinburgh chartered surveyors firm.

She left to have her children Julie and Jill – who are both now grown up – with husband Alan before returning to full-time study at Edinburgh University.

She graduated with first-class honours in economics and politics in 1983 and also won the DP Heatley Prize for the Top Honours Graduate of the year.

Alice’s first academic job was teaching economics at the University of Stirling in 1984, before she returned to Edinburgh a year later.

She went on to become head of the politics department and vice-principal at the university and co-director of its Institute of Governance, as well as being appointed as the first Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in 2002, a post she held until 2009.

The Scottish Funding Council is the national, strategic body that is responsible for funding teaching and learning provision, research and other activities in Scotland’s colleges and universities and higher education institutions.

Mr Russell welcomed the appointment, and said: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Prof Brown.The SFC plays a pivotal role in supporting our ambitions for sustainable economic growth, by maximising the contribution made by our learners and the colleges and universities they attend.

“Professor Brown takes over as chair at a time when her extensive experience will help to forge innovative partnerships between the further and higher education sectors, and beyond.

“While thanking John McClelland for all he has achieved as SFC chair since 2005, I very much look forward to working with Prof Brown.” The two-days-a-week part-time post pays £447 per day, with her contract running until October 2017.

Professor Brown – who away from work enjoys reading, music and cooking – will be stepping down as general secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a position she has held since 2011, and her roles with other Scottish universities.

Laurence Howells, interim chief executive of the funding council, said: “I am delighted to welcome Professor Brown and I, along with the staff and our board, look forward to working with her.”