Professor Sheila Rowan elected as Physical Secretary of the Royal Society

19 July 2023

Experimental physicist, Professor Sheila Rowan has been elected as the Royal Society’s new Physical Secretary and Vice-President. She will take up the post in November replacing Sir Peter Bruce at the end of his five-year term.

She will join Professor Alison Noble and Sir Mark Walport who have been confirmed as joint Foreign Secretaries of the Society.

The Royal Society’s other Vice Presidents are Dame Linda Partridge who is Biological Secretary and Professor Jonathan Keating who is Treasurer.

Professor Sheila Rowan CBE FRS

Since 2009, Professor Rowan has been Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow’s School for Physics and Astronomy, and in 2021 became President of the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said: “Sheila will bring a wealth of experience from a variety of influential roles, from senior leadership in the field of gravitational wave detection to serving as Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) to the Scottish Government (2016-21) and the UK CSA Champion for Quantum Technology. In these roles, she has been able to advocate for the importance of science in an independent and evidence-based way.”

Sheila is an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion in science, and has in her role at the IOP helped promote the ‘Limitless’ Campaign to influence stakeholders to remove barriers to engagement in physics. She is also a current member of the Royal Society’s Public Engagement Committee.

Professor J Alison Noble CBE FRS FREng FIET

Professor Alison Noble is the Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, part of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. She is an inter-disciplinary researcher distinguished for her contributions to biomedical image analysis.

Sir Mark Walport FMedSci FRS

Professor Mark Walport is Honorary Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Imperial College, London, and former Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation from its founding in 2017 to 2020. From 2013 to 2017 he was Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, Permanent Secretary and Head of the Government Office for Science, and Co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. He previously served as the Director of the Wellcome Trust and, before that, as Professor and Head of the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London.