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IOP Chief Executive: ‘Scotland’s physics community is pulling together’

14 March 2023

Tom Grinyer visits Scotland and finds IOP staff and members, MSPs and other physicists in buoyant mood.

At the end of February I was fortunate to spend a few days in Scotland visiting members, IOP staff and stakeholders. The highlight was hosting an event at the University of Glasgow on the future of quantum technology, where the importance of Scotland’s joined-up approach shone through.

A panel of academics, including IOP President Professor Shelia Rowan, business leaders and local MP and former physics teacher Carol Monaghan MP, stressed the importance of coming together to maximise Scotland’s response to this emerging technology. The IOP’s report, ‘A Vision for Quantum Technologies in the UK’, calls for action and was crucial for helping drive the conversation.

We also managed to visit the excellent Glasgow Science Centre, which showcases how central science skills are to local jobs – among many other areas; the Fraunhofer centre, based in the University of Strathclyde, which brings together academia, government and business in a sustainable model; the Royal Society of Edinburgh, where we discussed education and supporting the science community; and finally the Scottish Funding Council.

On the final day we were able to take the IOP’s message to the Scottish Parliament, meeting five MSPs from all political parties – all were keen to support the Scottish science and physics sector and understood the importance of attracting more into physics at a young age.

Also, during the trip I managed to spend time with the IOP’s Scotland Committee and IOP Scotland staff to hear first hand about some of the great work the IOP is doing, and about the challenges faced by teachers, academics and business and how we can address them.

I left Scotland with a strong sense of a physics community pulling together to support each other and to maximise the huge opportunities that exist. I am already looking forward to my next visit.

Tom Grinyer is Chief Executive of the IOP Group