Former deputy First Minister John Swinney appointed honorary professor at University of Glasgow’s centre for public policy

07/12/2023
Former Deputy First Minister John Swinney

THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW  has announced the appointment of John Swinney, former Deputy First Minister, as an Honorary Professor at its Centre for Public Policy. The Centre, inaugurated in autumn 2023, aims to bolster the university’s role in the public policy process.

In addition to John Swinney, Ken Thomson, former Director General Strategy and External Affairs at the Scottish Government, has also been appointed as an Honorary Professor of the Centre. The initiative seeks to bring together research expertise from across the University community to contribute to building policy capacity and addressing contemporary challenges.

Ken Thomson, Director-General Strategy and External Affairs for the Scottish Government. At St. Andrews House, Edinburgh

John Swinney, who served as Deputy First Minister from 2014 to 2023, will contribute to the development of the Centre’s Executive Education program. He brings extensive experience as a parliamentarian and senior minister, having held various roles in the Scottish Cabinet from 2007 to 2023. In his new role, John will guide staff on effective engagement with the policy process, emphasising the role of evidence in policy making.

Expressing his thoughts on the appointment, John Swinney said, “It is an honour and a privilege to join the Centre for Public Policy at the University of Glasgow as an Honorary Professor.” He stressed the importance of collaboration between policymakers and universities to address societal challenges effectively.

Ken Thomson, with a distinguished career in the civil service, including roles as Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Scotland and First Minister of Scotland, brings a wealth of experience in constitutional change. Thomson retired from the civil service in November 2023.

Commenting on the University’s initiative, Ken Thomson stated, “Governments and those they serve face increasingly complex and disruptive challenges, so it is more important than ever to find ways to bring different disciplines and perspectives to bear in shaping public policy responses.”

Professor Nicola McEwen, Director of the Centre for Public Policy, expressed excitement about welcoming John Swinney and Ken Thomson to the team. She highlighted the valuable expertise they bring, stating that their insights will support academic research in addressing policy challenges.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, emphasised the importance of engaging with the public and supporting long-term policymaking. He expressed anticipation for the contributions of the Honorary Professors, stating, “Both John and Ken will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their roles.”

The appointments of John Swinney and Ken Thomson as Honorary Professors underscore the University of Glasgow’s commitment to fostering collaboration between academia and policy making.

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