Professor Pete Downes appointed Universities Scotland Convener

20th August, 2012

Universities Scotland has announced the appointment of Professor Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee, as its Convener for the next two years.

The body, which represents Scotland\'s universities, also announced that Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University has been appointed as Vice-Convener for the same period. They will serve in their respective posts until 31st July 2014.

Professor Downes was already a member of Universities Scotland\'s Executive Committee and has led its Research and Knowledge Committee for the last two years.

He said, "It is a great honour to be appointed to this role, and I look forward to the many challenges it brings."

"This is a time of unprecedented change in the higher education sector in Scotland, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in order to find solutions to these challenges to ensure that Scotland\'s universities continue to excel in both teaching and research at a global level."

Professor Downes has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham and worked for ten years in the commercial pharmaceutical sector prior to his appointment as Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Dundee in 1989.

His career has been characterised by outstanding scientific achievement and academic leadership. He has played a key role in developing life sciences at Dundee as a centre for excellence in the understanding and treatment of major diseases, including diabetes and cancer, and as a major contributor to the Scottish economy.

He was a Vice-Principal of the University and Head of the College of Life Sciences for three years prior to his appointment as Principal.

Professor Downes is one of the 15 most cited bio-scientists in the UK. He was awarded the Colworth Medal of the British Biochemical Society in 1987 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1991. He was honoured by the Queen with an OBE in 2004.

Universities Scotland Director, Alastair Sim said welcomed the appointment, saying, "I am delighted that Professor Downes is willing to undertake this role at a time of challenge and opportunity for the sector. The Universities Scotland team looks forward to working with him and Professor Wend as Vice-Convener."

"I would also like to pay tribute to our outgoing Convener, Professor Seamus McDaid, whose positivity and passion has driven our work over the last year."

For media enquiries contact:
Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384768
MOBILE: 07854 953277

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