Three CLS scientists have been honoured by election as Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The new Fellows from the College of Life Sciences are Professor Kate Storey, Professor Jason Swedlow and Professor Caroline Wilkinson. David Muir Wood, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Dundee was also elected as a Fellow of the RSE. Each new Fellow of the RSE is recognised within his or her peer group as having achieved excellence within their discipline or profession.

Professor Pete Downes, Principal of the University, congratulated the new Fellows, saying, “I am delighted to see these four distinguished scientists being recognised as new Fellows of Scotland’s national academy of science and letters. It is a source of pride for the whole University, and fitting recognition for their considerable professional achievements.”

Iain Gordon, Chief Executive at The James Hutton Institute and a close research collaborator with the College of Life Sciences was also elected in this year’s round of new honours.

The Dundee contingent are among the 46 new UK and International Fellows joining the RSE’s 1500-strong Fellowship of experts in the Sciences, Arts, Humanities, the Professions, Industry and Commerce. New Fellows are elected after a rigorous four-stage selection process culminating in a ballot of the entire Fellowship.

Once admitted to the RSE, Fellows are encouraged to contribute to the aims and objectives of the Society, including the provision of expert policy advice to Government and Parliament, outreach education programmes for young people, and public engagement events including conferences and discussion forums. The central aim of the Society is the advancement of learning and useful knowledge.

Jason Swedlow is currently Professor of Quantitative Cell Biology in the College of Life Sciences. He was named ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the 2011 BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) Impact Awards for for his work on the Open Microscopy Environment (OME) – a revolutionary venture into open source software.

Caroline Wilkinson is Professor of Craniofacial Identification within the University’s Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). She is a member of the Board of Governors of the International Association of Craniofacial identification (IACI), and was President of the organisation from 2008-10. She was also previously President of the British Association of Human Identification (BAHID).

Kate Storey is Professor of Neural Development and Head of the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology. Her lab carries out leading-edge research into Neural differentiation in embryos and embryonic stem cells.

David Muir Wood is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1998, and has written three books on soil mechanics.

Sir John Arbuthnott, the President of the RSE and an eminent microbiologist, praised all new Fellows, saying, “In my first year as President I am pleased to welcome such a talented group of people to the RSE. Each new Fellow has achieved excellence in her or his field of work, whether in academia, public service or business.

“When I meet the new group of new Fellows at their induction in May I will encourage all of them to actively engage with the work of the RSE for the benefit of society here in Scotland and internationally.

“It is also encouraging that the proportion of female Fellows elected is the highest in the history of the Society in a single year, which I believe is an indication that more women are reaching the highest levels of their discipline, which is also now being reflected in election to the RSE.”

The RSE was founded in 1783 by Royal Charter and is Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters. Former and current Fellows of the RSE include Sir Walter Scott, Sir Charles Darwin, John Logie Baird, William Wordsworth, James Clerk Maxwell, John Scott Russell, Francis Crick, Sir James Black, Sir Philip Cohen, Sir David Lane, Sir Paul Nurse, and Fred Sanger.

Today it has around 1500 Fellows whose expertise encompasses the full spectrum of the sciences, medicine, engineering and technology, education, law, the arts, humanities, social sciences, business, industry, the professions and public service. This multi-disciplinary perspective makes the RSE unique amongst the United Kingdom’s learned societies.