Chief Executive of Scottish Parliament appointed Principal of Queen Margaret University

By Press Office

Today (12 June) Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh is delighted to announce that Sir Paul Grice, Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament, will be appointed as the University’s new Principal and Vice-Chancellor. With an outstanding record in governance and leadership at a national level, including high level experience in academic research policy and university finance, Sir Paul is a strong appointment to lead this ambitious university.

Sir Paul, who was knighted in the New Year Honours List 2016 for services to the Scottish Parliament and voluntary services to higher education and the community in Scotland, will take over the role of Principal and Vice-Chancellor from Professor Petra Wend, who has been at the helm at QMU since 2009.

He has held the position of Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament since its inception in 1999, leading the delivery of all services to the Parliament alongside acting as its principal adviser on procedural and constitutional matters. Having worked in governmental organisations both in London and Scotland, he has built a reputation as an outstanding leader. He was involved in the constitutional group with responsibility for the referendum on establishing the Scottish Parliament and he went on to manage the Scotland Act which laid the foundation for the new constitutional framework.

Sir Paul also has a deep understanding of the higher education sector and its challenges. He served as a member of the University Court of Stirling from 2006-2013 – chairing the University’s Finance and Resources Committee from 2008-2012 – and as a member of the Economic and Social Research Council from 2009-2015. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he is also a Policy Leaders Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge and is a board member of Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow. He champions both the importance of research in universities and of the student experience.

Dr Frances Dow CBE, Chair of the Court of Queen Margaret University, said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Sir Paul Grice as Principal of the University. He has a strong vision for QMU, building on the University’s successes so far. Importantly, he exhibits a real commitment to ensuring that students are front and centre of all developments, and to staff engagement.

“His philosophy on education aligns with the value that QMU places upon social justice, and on intellectual capital with both a theoretical and practical focus. These elements equip our graduates and staff to make a real difference to the world around them.

“Given his prominent roles in civil society so far in his career, it is abundantly clear that Sir Paul will be a powerful voice for QMU externally and for the higher education sector as a whole. His approach will complement and build on the work of our outgoing Principal, Professor Petra Wend, over her decade of service at QMU.”

Sir Paul Grice confirmed: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Queen Margaret University as Principal and Vice-Chancellor. QMU is a great university and I feel privileged to have been given this wonderful opportunity. I look forward very much to getting to know the staff and students and to working with them to build on the university’s many achievements as we move into the new decade.”

Dr Dow concluded: “QMU is an ambitious, enterprising and socially relevant university that makes a real and immediate difference to people’s lives through its research and teaching. Sir Paul’s extensive leadership experience and individual perspective on higher education will allow the University to fulfil its potential to make a strong positive influence on people, the economy, culture and health - across Scotland, the UK and internationally.”

Notes to Editor

1. At Queen Margaret University our vision is to be a university of ideas and influence. Our mission is to foster intellectual capital with both a theoretical and practical focus, giving students and staff the confidence to make a real difference to the world around them. We are known not only for our excellent, relevant teaching, research and knowledge exchange but also for the care and respect we give our students, staff and partners. As a thriving campus university we strive to create a community without borders, helping to improve people’s lives locally, nationally and internationally. We are ambitious and enterprising, and, in everything we do, we are committed to social justice.

2. For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager at Queen Margaret University on E: T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239, or Karen Keith, Media Relations Officer on E:, T: 0131 474 0000.

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