A new chair has been named for the Scottish Government’s committee on preparing for potential future pandemics.

Professor Andrew Morris – vice principal of data science and professor of medicine at the University of Edinburgh, director and CEO of Health Data Research UK, and also chair of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Advisory Group – has been appointed as chair of the Scottish Government’s Standing Committee on Pandemic Preparedness (SCoPP).

The committee – which was first established in August 2021, and is comprised of leading scientists and medical specialists - met on 7 April to discuss how best to advise on how Scotland can be as prepared as possible to tackle any future pandemics. Members of the committee will prepare an initial report on these priorities within the next six months, with a final report produced within a further 18 months.

Professor Morris said: “I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to address these important issues.

“We will engage with clinicians and the wider scientific community in Scotland to ensure that our work is informed by a range of expertise. We will also look to international experience to ensure our report reflects the global nature of pandemics and the international learning that will help us best prepare Scotland to face the future.”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf also commented: “We are very pleased that Professor Andrew Morris has agreed to be the Chair of the SCoPP. He is adept at distilling complicated science and disparate views into clear and succinct advice to the Scottish Government.

“His reputation with his peers and internationally means we will benefit from his expertise and ability as well as his wide range of contacts from the UK and beyond.  We look forward to continuing our relationship as we move through the stages of the pandemic.”