JOHN Swinney, the former deputy first minister and SNP leader, has been made an honorary professor at a prestigious Scottish university.

The SNP MSP is joining the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Public Policy in the honorary role alongside Ken Thomson, the former director general of strategy and external affairs for the Scottish Government and one of the key architects of devolution.

The two new honorary professors will lend support to the development of the centre’s executive education programme and support staff in how to engage effectively with the policy process, the University of Glasgow said when announcing the news.

The National:

Swinney (above) said: "It is an honour and a privilege to join the Centre for Public Policy at the University of Glasgow as an honorary professor. Now, more than ever, it is important that policy makers and parliamentarians work in partnership with our universities to help tackle the issues that are impacting our collective health, wellbeing and standard of living.

“Although the challenges we face are undeniably substantial, I have always been optimistic that change and reform is possible within our society. However, this can only happen with the truly collaborative approach that is the Centre for Public Policy's mission.

“I applaud the University of Glasgow for its commitment to supporting public policy and I very much look forward to working with the Centre and wider University community to develop and enhance the public policy process for the benefit of all.”

Thomson, who retired from the civil service in November 2023 following 12 years in director general roles at the highest levels of government, said: “Governments and those they serve face increasingly complex and disruptive challenges, so it is more important than ever to find ways to bring different disciplines and perspectives to bear in shaping public policy responses.

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“The University of Glasgow’s initiative in creating the Centre for Public Policy is an exciting one. I’m delighted to be able to contribute to that work, and am looking forward to it enormously.”

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, the principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “On behalf of the university, I am delighted to welcome John Swinney MSP and Ken Thomson as honorary professors for the Centre for Public Policy.

“I believe it is vital that we use our research and teaching strengths, our inspiring University community and our wider activity to engage with the public and support better long-term policymaking.

“With this new centre and its honorary professors, we will be in a stronger position to be able to bring a range of perspectives to national discussions on the key challenges facing society today. Both John and Ken will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their roles and I very much look forward to hearing their contribution and those of our other centre colleagues in the months and years ahead.”

Michael Russell, the SNP grandee who resigned as party president last week, is also an honorary professor at the University of Glasgow in the College of Arts and Humanities.