Principal & Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Bacon has been elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh as part of the 2023 intake of 91 leading practitioners across the sciences, education, the arts, business, and public life.
The group join the RSE’s current Fellowship, which comprises 1,800 people recognised as being some of the greatest thinkers, researchers and practitioners in their field working in or with organisations in Scotland today.
Professor Bacon was announced as Abertay's Principal in January 2022, having joined University in September 2018 as Deputy Principal & Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
An international researcher in computer science, Professor Bacon is a worldwide speaker on a range of topics, including preparing staff and students for the fourth industrial revolution’s impact on teaching, learning and work, and improving diversity and participation in STEM, particularly among women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Professor Bacon is a leading international scholar in technology-enhanced and immersive learning and research has resulted in the upskilling of hundreds of professionals and volunteers to respond to a range of societal emergencies such as wildfires, extreme weather, earthquakes, and health crises.
She is particularly known for her championing of diversity in her profession, her work on delivering social mobility through higher education, her inclusive approach to international education, and her thought leadership in the use of technology in education.
Professor Bacon has, for over 30 years, been involved in many initiatives to encourage more women to study computing and other STEM subjects, for example through the CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies) Women in ICT group.
As President of BCS (Chartered Institute for IT) she set up, and led STELLAR, a STEM network for senior women whose focus is to increase diversity in the STEM sectors.
She has also acted as a consultant to the Dutch Government advising on the retention of women in higher education technology programmes, which resulted in work with several Dutch HE institutions over a period of 10 years.
Throughout her career, she has worked to improve quality and standards in higher education, including a focus on degree accreditation standards in computer science both in the UK and internationally.
She has contributed to a range of impactful reports including: a Royal Academy of Engineering report on the Universe of Engineering, a report for the UK Government Office for Science on the Future of Digital skills, several reports for the European Commission on digital skills and leadership, and a paper on student retention published in a House of Commons Education and Employment Select Committee report, which has had a significant impact on thinking in this important area.
Professor Bacon said: “I feel honoured to receive this recognition which I very much view as an accolade to be shared with my colleagues, both here at Abertay and at the many partner and previous institutions with which I continue to enjoy collaborative links. The RSE is a fantastic organisation to be associated with and I look forward to supporting its wide range of goals around science, education and many other areas in the years ahead.”
Professor Sir John Ball, President of the RSE said: "It is a great privilege to welcome our new Fellows – they represent outstanding commitment and achievement at the highest level across a diverse range of sectors. From scientific advancement that changes lives to leading business innovation recognised across the world, the RSE welcomes the best minds to harness their unique insight and make knowledge useful for the greater good."