Following the publication of "A Science Strategy for Scotland" the Scottish Science Advisory Committee (SSAC) was created as an independent advisory Committee in 2002. The Committee was established under the auspices of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), to provide advice to Scottish Government Ministers on strategic scientific issues, including science strategy, science policy and science priorities.
Professor Wilson Sibbett, Wardlaw Professor of Physics at the University of St Andrews, Chaired the Committee until 31 December 2006.
During this period the Committee produced a number of helpful reports on various aspects of science strategy and science education and more recently on more specific opportunities for the science base in Scotland, including E-health, Medical Imaging, Energy and Animal Bioscience.
Following the appointment of Professor Anne Glover CBE, FRSE, FAAM as the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), the SSAC moved from the RSE to the Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (OCSA) within the Scottish Government on 1 January 2007 when the CSA took up the position of Chair of the SSAC. The RSE no longer has any responsibilities for the Committee.
During 2007 SSAC was in a transition phase while the Chief Scientific Adviser reviewed the arrangements for the future of the Committee. In August 2007 Ministers approved the plans for the new arrangements of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee - to re-establish it as a semi-formal advisory body of experts from the science community reporting to the CSA in the first instance.
The SSAC appointed 8 new, Council members in February 2008. The new appointments refreshed the SSAC membership, replacing members who stepped down at the end of 2007.
As part of the new arrangements the SSAC agreed to amend its name to the Scottish Science Advisory Council to reflect the wide range of scientific expertise included in the body and to differentiate the SSAC from subject-specific committees which tend to have narrow fields of interest.
The SSAC will continue to provide the Scottish Government with independent advice on science and the opportunities for Scotland's economy and society. The arrangements for SSAC have been revised to link them in better to the needs of the Scottish Government.
The SSAC has an appointed Chair and is supported by staff in the Science in Government Team within the Scottish Government.