RBGE Board of Trustees

There are currently seven members of the Board of Trustees. Their responsibilities are to oversee the management of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and to provide strategic guidance to the Senior Management. Trustees are appointed (and can be reappointed) for four yearly terms by Scottish Ministers. The Board is accountable to Scottish Ministers through the Chairman.

SIR MUIR RUSSELL KCB FRSE - Chairman

Portrait photograph of Sir Muir Russellis a former Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Office and the Scottish Executive, and was the Principal of the University of Glasgow until his retirement in 2009.  He is currently in his second term of appointment as chair of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.  He is also Chairman of the Dunedin Concert Trust, a Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors of the Glasgow School of Art, and a Member of the Board of the Moredun Research Institute.

During his period as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow from 2003 to 2009, Sir Muir was Convener of Universities Scotland, a member of the Universities UK Main Board, a Trustee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, and a member of the UCAS Board.

Sir Muir graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1970 with a First in Natural Philosophy (Physics) and took up a career in the civil service, assigned to the Scottish Office.  His civil service career included a period in Whitehall as Head of the Home Affairs Secretariat of the Cabinet Office (1990-92).  He was Head of the Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department from 1995 to 1998, with responsibilities that included the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and membership of the BBSRC.  He was appointed Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Office in 1998, following open competition, and was the first Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Executive following the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Sir Muir was awarded the KCB in 2001, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000.  He has honorary degrees from the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sir Muir is married to Eileen Mackay CB FRSE (Lady Russell). They have been Patrons of the Garden since June 2002.

 Mr Tim Rollinson CBE 

Mr Tim Rollinson, RBGE Trusteebecame a Trustee in February 2009 and was reappointed in 2013.  He graduated with a degree in Ecological Science from Edinburgh University and has spent his career developing a sustainable approach to the management of forests in the UK and worldwide.  Tim was Director General of the Forestry Commission from 2004-2013 and has represented the UK government at United Nations and other international meetings.  He is a founder and Chair of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration and a Patron of Tree Aid, a development charity working in Africa.  He is a past President of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, a Chartered Environmentalist, a Fellow of the Institute of Agricultural Engineers and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.  Tim was made a CBE in the Queen's Jubilee Honors list in 2012.

Mrs Angela McNaught 

RBGE Trusteebecame a Trustee in June 2008.  At the RBGE she is also the Chairman of the Audit Committee.  A certified Accountant with over 20 years experience working in financial roles starting as a graduate trainee at KPMG in 1987, she holds a BSc in Geography and Geology.  Most recently she worked as the Finance Director of the Events & Exhibition Organising Division of Earls Court & Olympia.  Mrs McNaught moved to Scotland in 2004 and has since been carrying out financial consultancy and performed voluntary work in the local community including Chair of a local play group.  She is married with two daughters and her leisure pursuits currently revolve around caring for a young family. 

Professor Janet Sprent OBE, FRSE

Professor Janet Sprent OBE, FRSEis Emeritus Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Dundee and became a Trustee in February 2007. Professor Sprent has over 40 years' experience of plant science research, with particular interest in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. An Honorary Research Fellow of the James Hutton Institute, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, she was awarded an OBE in 1996 for services to science and education. In 2002, her research in the field of ecology was recognised with an Honorary Membership of the British Ecological Society. She retired from the Board of Scottish Natural Heritage in March 2007.
Among former appointments, she was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and a member of RERAD Strategic Scientific Advisory Panel. Chairman of Governors of Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, a member of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, a Council member of the Natural Environment Research Council, and Deputy Principal of the University of Dundee. With publications and collaborations across the world, Professor Sprent's research continues and her current special interest is in evolution of the Leguminosae.

Dr Ian Sword CBE, FRSE

DR Ian Sword CBE, FRSE became a Trustee in January 2007. A scientist with experience of international business, Dr Sword studied chemistry at Glasgow, Princeton and Oxford Universities. He moved to Inveresk Research in 1973 and after becoming CEO in 1979, he subsequently led a management buy-out, then sale to SGS Geneva in 1989. Following a management buyback, the company listed on NASDAQ in 2002. He received a CBE in 2002 for services to research, education and enterprise. From  2003-2009, Dr Sword was a Director of the private equity group Archangel Informal Investment Ltd. He has served on boards including that of the Medical Research Council, Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh, Caledonian Research Foundation, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian. He is currently a Trustee of Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland,  Honorary Research Fellow University of Glasgow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Mrs Patricia Henton

Royal Botanic Garden Trustee of the Boardbecame a Trustee in November 2010. She has a degree in Geology and Geography and has spent nearly all her working life in environmental protection, initially with Clyde and Forth River Purification Boards and Aspinwall & Co, a major environmental consultancy.  At the latter she set up and ran successful offices in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland.  In 1995 she was appointed Director of Environmental Strategy at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, becoming Chief Executive in 2000.  For the last five and a half years until her recent retirement, Tricia was Director of Environment and Business at the Environment Agency, based in London. The focus of her work for the last 20 years has been in shaping the strategic direction necessary to address difficult environmental issues. She has a particular interest in the relationships between agriculture, land use and water quality.

Tricia has been a Council member or Trustee for many organisations including the RSPB and NERC Councils and Our Dynamic Earth. She is a Board member of the Coal Authority and the British Geological Survey, a past president of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Her interests in travel, hillwalking, birdwatching and gardens all combine well.  She is married with two grown up children.

Diana Murray

Trustee Photograph is Chief Executive of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).  Recently, she has taken on joint responsibility of Historic Scotland as the two bodies merge into one.  She studied archaeology at Cambridge University and has devoted her career to Scottish cultural heritage.  She has developed RCAHMS into a major national collection for the historic environment and is passionate about engaging public interest through cross cultural understanding and enjoyment of both the historic and natural environment in Scotland.

She is an Honorary Fellow of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh and served on the Board of the National Trust for Scotland from 2004-2013.  She is also a Trustee of the Scottish Seabird Centre and the newly created Scottish Waterways Trust.

Professor Iain Gordon FBiol, FRSE

 is Chief Executive and Director of the James Hutton Institute.  He completed his PhD in Zoology at Cambridge University in 1986 and followed this with postdoctoral research on the management of wetlands for biodiversity conservation in the Camargue, France.  During the next 15 years of his career at the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute he developed and led a research team specialising in understanding and mitigating rural land management impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.  He joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia in 2003 to take charge of CSIRO’s Townsville Laboratory from where he also led CSIRO’s Building Resilient Biodiversity Assets Theme.  Professor Gordon returned to Scotland in 2010 to create and lead the James Hutton Institute.

Over the past 25 years he has led interdisciplinary research projects across five continents - Africa, Asia, South America, Aurstralia and Europe.  He has published over 190 papers in international scientific peer review journals, published four books (another for Cambridge University Press is in the final editorial stages), and contributed to 27 book chapters.  These span a range of research areas including livestock nutrition and health, ecology of natural ecosystems, grazing management to achieve biodiversity and broader environmental objectives, and community based conservation.  Professor Gordon holds editorial positions on 4 peer-reviewed, international journals including Biodiversity and Conservation and Animal Conservation.  He also holds Honorary Professorships in three Universities in the UK and Australia and was recently awarded a DSc by the University of Abertay.  He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Society of Biology.

Professor Thomas Meagher

Trustee Photograph moved to Scotland in 1999 as Professor of Plant Biology at the University of St Andrews.  Prior to that, he was a Professor of Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. He studied Botany at the University of South Florida, Florida, and gained a PhD in Botany and Genetics at Duke University, North Carolina.

His research interests include plant evolutionary biology, conservation biology and biodiversity, and public understanding of science. 

Professor Meagher has served on the Defra Science Advisory Council (2004-2009), the Natural Environment Research Council (2007-2013) and the UK Plant Health and Biosecurity Taskforce (2012-2013).

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)