RSE medals for three leading University of Glasgow academics

Three University of Glasgow researchers have received prestigious medals from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

Professor Graeme Roy, Professor Marian Scott and Dr Hyab Yohannes are among eight recipients of RSE medals named today from institutions across Scotland. The medals recognise outstanding contribution and achievement across all’academic disciplines.

This year’s medallists are the second cohort to have been awarded under the revised RSE Medal Programme, which saw the creation of new medals to honour eminent women and their significant input to the sciences, arts, and letters in Scotland, and, high attainment in previously unrepresented sectors: earth and environmental sciences, and teamwork and collaborative endeavour.

Professor Graeme Roy , Dean of External Engagement and Deputy Head of the College of Social Sciences, has received the RSE Adam Smith Medal. The award citation recognises his substantial contribution to public policy and public life in Scotland, most recently through his appointment as Chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

Professor Roy designed and led tercentenary local and international events to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Adam Smith’s birth in 2023. Professor Roy’s work has enabled broad reflection on Smith’s legacy and contemporary relevance, bringing renewed international prominence to one of Scotland’s leading intellectuals.

Professor Roy said: "I’m very honoured to have received this award. It is a particular pleasure to be awarded the Adam Smith Medal given the fantastic work of the team at the University of Glasgow, and our friends around the world, to mark the legacy of Smith during his tercentenary year."

Marian Scott , Professor of Environmental Statistics in the School of Mathematics & Statistics, has received the RSE Lord Kelvin Medal. Professor Scott’s award citation acknowledges her ground-breaking statistical research, which has transformed the application of statistical methods across different disciplines, including environmental science, radiocarbon dating, veterinary science and quantitative archaeology.

Her research work has made significant influence on policy and practice, as demonstrated in her public service appointments to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, EU Scientific Committee on Health, Environment and Emerging Risk, and the NERC Science Committee.

Professor Scott said, "I am immensely proud to receive the RSE Lord Kelvin medal, his work around measurement has motivated my work on animal welfare and quality of life. More generally, though as a statistician, measurement, resulting in data, has been my passion and allowed me to work in a truly interdisciplinary way, and with amazing people in the University of Glasgow and beyond.

"All of the work I have been involved in has been collaborative and applied, starting from my PhD in Chemistry, which then led to research more generally in the environmental sciences, archaeology, animal pain, sustainability and more. All my colleagues and collaborators have been immensely influential in shaping my research and generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise. From them, I have gained knowledge and hopefully wisdom, and without them, there would be no medal."

Dr Hyab Yohannes , of the School of Education, is Lecturer and Research Associate: UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integrations through Languages and Arts, has received the RSE June Almeida Medal. Dr Yohanne’s citation recognises his academic endeavour and public engagement as a survivor of torture and trafficking amid challenges to the Refugee Convention.

As a legal expert, Dr Yohannes provides pro-bono multilingual assistance to refugees, particularly those from the Horn of Africa. Dr Yohannes offers critical and life-saving guidance, translation, interpretation, welcome and critical information to thousands of members of the diaspora in the UK and overseas through establishing effective public engagement.

Dr Hyab Yohannes said, "Thirteen years ago, in March 2011, I fled Eritrea in search of a dignified life. Alongside others, we had to rely on faith in the unknown and find hope in the seemingly impossible. Our journey would not have been possible without the incredible courage, determination, vision, and hope of colleagues in the humanitarian field, scholars, and activists worldwide. Despite these collective efforts, however, the sea, desert, and underground torture camps still bear the traces of those who lost their lives - friends, relatives, and strangers.

"Upon learning that I have been honoured with the RSE June Almeida Medal, I found myself shedding tears and reflecting on haunting memories. I am reminded of the untold stories, the lives that perished without a trace, and the lingering wounds that remain.

"This award not only recognises the countless lives lost and the suffering endured by their bodies, but also acknowledges the unheard voices and the countless lives that I have fought for and alongside, the lives I have touched and have been touched by, and the difference we have made together. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the nominators and the RSE for this profound recognition."

Professor Sir John Ball, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: "Nominated by RSE Fellows, the prestigious medals of the RSE recognise remarkable accomplishment. Working in diverse fields, this year’s recipients join a distinguished cohort of trailblazers whose contributions advance our knowledge and positively impact lives worldwide. Their accomplishments underscore the depth and breadth of research talent in Scotland. I extend my warmest congratulations to all’of them."