Board of trustees

Dr William Duncan

Board member

William was Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) - Scotland's national Academy of Sciences and Letters - from 1985 until 2017.
During this time he oversaw a considerable expansion of its activities, reach and impact. New activities developed included:

  • policy advice, with the RSE widely recognised as an impartial, authoritative commentator on a wide range Scottish, UK and European issues.
  • international relations, especially with other leading national academies in Europe and Asia
  • academic/ business links, through national strategies to enhance commercialisation and knowledge transfer, including creation of highly successful Enterprise Fellowship awards
  • Parliamentary relations, with both Scottish and UK Parliaments.
  • Post-doctoral research awards, funded by public, charitable and private sector sources.
  • buying and extensive refurbishment of RSE premises in central Edinburgh
  • diversification of the RSE funding and successful fund raising campaigns.

William is a Trustee of the Glasgow Science Centre and Chairs the Audit Committee. As the founder Secretary of the Scottish Science Trust, he played a key role in securing the funding from the Millennium Commission and EU to enable a network of science centres to be created in Scotland.
Since 2017 he has been Visiting Professor at the International Public Policy Institute at the University of Strathclyde.

He also Chairs the George Street Association in Edinburgh.

Prior to his appointment at the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1985, he worked in the Policy Planning Department of Lothian Regional Council (from 1978- 1985) and in the Treasurer's Department of the Greater London Council (1975-1978).

He is a Chartered member of the Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and has BSc and PhD degrees in science from Edinburgh University.

His leisure interests are organ music (especially 20th century and contemporary), opera and overseas travel.

May 2018

Dr William Duncan