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New Research Champion


24 Mar 2016

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has appointed its new Director of Research and Innovation.

Dr Stuart Fancey is a graduate of the University of St Andrews and of Heriot-Watt University. He is a physicist whose career has taken him from cutting edge science in laboratory to the commercial world and, latterly, to the application of his experience to policy and strategy for supporting Scotland’s universities and colleges. 

Stuart began his career carrying out research in photonics at Heriot-Watt and subsequently held an EU Marie Curie Fellowship at the University of Hagen, Germany. In 2002, Stuart helped to establish a hi- tech start-up company in Livingston, Helia Photonics Limited, where he was instrumental in setting up production facilities and building the initial client base.

Stuart joined the Scottish Funding Council in 2005 and played a leading part in the establishment of Scottish University Research Pools. These ground-breaking clusters of world-leading researchers are a Scottish success story and have grown into a £150 million programme of collaborations that has been imitated in countries around the world. 

Stuart is also central to the Scottish Funding Council’s current £120 million investment in Scottish Innovation Centres. Fusing industry leadership, commercial knowledge and the specialist expertise of universities across Scotland required high levels of negotiation and direction. He has supported Scotland’s world-leading university-business innovation service, Interface, which has helped Scottish universities to strengthen over 1,200 small businesses through innovation. 

Speaking about his appointment, Stuart said: “This is an incredibly exciting role which offers the chance to champion research in Scotland and to contribute to the reform of innovation support our country is prioritising.  I am passionate about the importance of excellent research right across the academic spectrum, from archaeology to energy and from literature to lasers. I am equally committed to the realisation of value from that research for society, wherever possible.  I look forward to all the challenges and all the opportunities for progress that this position brings.”

Laurence Howells, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said: “Stuart brings huge experience and the hard-won respect of the Scottish research community to this key post at SFC. I look forward to seeing the impact his leadership will have on our work in research and innovation.”