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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

Annual General Meeting of the 192nd Session (2012-2013)

Report by the President,
Professor Ian Robson,
presented at the Society's Annual General Meeting
on June 24th 2013

1. Corporate Governance of the Society

(a) Charity status

Charity name:
The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Registered Charity number:
Principal Address:
29/3 East London Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4BN

(b) Council for the 192nd session

President: Professor Ian Robson

Vice-President: Mr Alexander Hayward

Vice-President: vacant

Treasurer: Dr Tacye Phillipson

Secretary: Dr Jane Ridder-Patrick

Councillors: Professor Stuart Munro; Professor Stephen Salter; Dr Beverley Bergman; Mr Peter Jones.

Other officers:

Webmaster: Mr Graham Rule

Excursion Organiser: Mr Robert Reekie

Programme Secretary: Brigadier Ian Gardiner

Archivist: Dr Allen Simpson

(c) Meetings of Council

Council met on three occasions during the session: October 16th, December 11th. March 26th. The key activity of the year was to: (i) agree to a strap-line for the Society of: The Royal Scottish Society of Art – showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation; (ii) to bring the rules of the Society up-to-date and to present them to this AGM for acceptance (see later); (iii) to normalise the Society's medals; (iv) to revisit the case for Honorary Fellows and to obtain agreement of those proposed at this AGM (see later); (v) continue the drive for recruitment, especially for young people. The outstanding item of work remains the public face of the Society in terms of the revision of the web-pages.

(d) The Rules of the Society

It was agreed that due to changing circumstances and changes in the Charity regulations it was important to bring the Rules up-to-date and to make them both simpler and more understandable in terms of language. A number of changes have been agreed by Council to satisfy these ends and the new rules will be presented to this AGM for acceptance by the Fellows. Many thanks go to Graham Rule for his tireless work in pushing the case for change for a number of years.

(e) Format of the Annual Report

As President I have looked at other Annual Reports of organisations and the format that I am presenting in this Report is an attempt to standardise the reporting to the Fellows (and others) and to have all the major information relating to the year held in one place for future reference. Hopefully this will provide a useful template for future Presidents.

2 Activities during the 192nd session

(a) Meetings

The main activity of the Society is the monthly lectures that are open to the General Public. The programme of speakers was in place before the summer recess of 2012 and in the event only one talk had to be changed due to the last minute unavailability of the speaker. The talks were all of an extremely high standard, covering a wide range of topics and very appealing to the audiences. The schedule of talks is given below:

Monday 15th October 2012, Professor Charles Cockell, Director, UK Centre for Astrobiology, University of Edinburgh. “The Search for Life Beyond the Earth”.

Monday 12th November 2012, Professor Bob Reuben BSc PhD CEng FIM FIMechE FHEA, Professor of Materials Engineering, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences Heriot-Watt University. “Engineering across the micro-nano gap”.

Monday 10th December 2012, Professor Andrew Mearns Spragg FRSA FSB, Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd. “New pharmaceutical lead compounds from marine natural products - an under exploited source of chemical diversity”.

Monday 21st January 2013, Professor James S Dunlop BSc Hons PhD FInstP FRSE, Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy, University of Edinburgh. “The First Galaxies”.

Monday 18th February 2013, Professor Richard J Cogdell FRS FRSE FRSA FSB, Hooker Professor of Botany, Director of Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, Deputy Head of College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences University of Glasgow. “What can we learn from photosynthesis about how to use solar energy to make fuels”.

Monday 25th March 2013, Mr Martin McAdam BE CEng FIEI FRSA, Chief Executive Officer, Aquamarine Power Ltd. “Wave Energy”.

Monday 22nd April 2013, Dr Nick Fraser, Keeper of Natural Sciences, National Museums Scotland. “Sea Dragons, Dinosaurs and the Origin of the Modern World”.

Monday 20th May 2013 – the talk should have been given by Professor Sue Black, Director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee on “Forensic anthropology – the art of speaking for the dead”, but due to a last minute professional obligation she was unable to attend and Prof Ian Robson, President of the Society, stepped in with a talk entitled “Supercool Astronomy and the beaches of Hawaii”.

Monday 24th June – the AGM talk will be given by Dr Beverley Bergman of the Council entitled “Scottish Pioneers of Military Medicine”.

I am pleased to be able to announce that all the meetings for the next session are already organised and published on the web and thanks go to members of Council for their suggestions and to Ian Gardiner for the subsequent organisation of the programme.

(b) Excursions

Three excursions have been planned for the summer (two of which have already taken place): the Scottish Lime Centre in Charlestown, Fife on Saturday June 15th, the Northern Lighthouse Board in George Street, Edinburgh on Wednesday 19th June 2013, and the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh on Saturday 29th June 2013

3 Medals and awards

(a) The Technological Studies Prize and Bronze Medal

The Societies Prize and medal for the best Highers student in Technological Studies was awarded to Euan Walker from Marr College in Troon. The award, constituting a book token for £100 was presented at the Science in the Parliament event at Our Dynamic Earth on November 14th 2012.

(b) Honorary Fellows

Although the Society has the ability to award Honorary Fellowships, this has not been used for many years. To this end Council agreed to approach four outstanding individuals who are either Scottish or work in a Scottish establishment to offer Honorary Fellowships in recognition of their major contributions to their fields. All four readily accepted the invitation to become Honorary Fellows and their names will be formally presented to the AGM for acceptance by the Fellows. They are: Professor John Brown, Glasgow University and Astronomer Royal for Scotland; Professor Stephen Salter, University of Edinburgh; Professor Peter Higgs, University of Edinburgh; Professor Anne Glover, now at the European Commission and previously Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Government.

4 Membership and Members

The membership stood at 178. One person resigned and we welcomed 12 new Fellows, which is a very welcome trend. The meetings were all well attended and the average meeting size stood at 45.

During the year there was one death to record, that of John Galt.

Council congratulates the Secretary, Jane Ridder-Patrick, on the award of a PhD from the University of Edinburgh.

5 Financial Report

The Report by the Treasurer as presented to the AGM. The Society remains very solvent and the investments had done better this year. Running costs were roughly consistent with one grant of £1000 being given to Dr Jonathan Delafield-Butt for a conference in Child Development and Health. Funds of £93,000 were currently invested with a stockbroker and £28,000 in a fixed rate bank account. One of the goals for the next session will be to harmonise and amalgamate a number of small grants and bequests that the Society has accumulated over the years. This approach appears to have the support of OSCR.

Balance sheet

2011 - 2012

2010 - 2011

Opening balance 44278.14

add Surplus for year 3316.90

Gain on CCLA deposit 935.41




Closing balance 48530.45


Investments (W de Broe)

Opening Value 84525

Funds purchased

Gains: 8,646

Closing valuation 93,171


Represented by:

Unrestricted funds Restricted funds
Unrestricted funds Restricted funds

Royal Bank of Scotland 5821.89

CCLA 28495.31

SL Bank - general fund 29.44

SL Bank - special funds

Deposit totals: 34346.64 14183.81
30402 13875

Total deposits 48530.45


Investments (W de Broe) 93,171




Receipts & Payments

2011 - 2012
2010 - 2011

Annual subscriptions 1775
Tax refund

Cancelled cheque



RBoS bank

Fund: C.C.L.A. 1513.48
Co-op Bank

S.L.B. General fund 1.37
S.L.B. Special funds 308.65
Investment: (W de Broe) 3099.11

Interest Subtotal: 4922.61
TOTAL 6697.61


Lecture costs

Rent of rooms 528
Meals 768.84

Travel 304.43
Advertising 263.98
Postage, photocopying etc 235.57
Insurance 94.9
Grant to Brisbane Trust

Grant to National Museum (book)

Grant for conference 1000

Sundry (inc. bank charges) 72.11
Investments bought (W de Broe)

Catering / Miscellaneous 112.88

transfer to deposit funds

TOTAL 3380.71

Surplus/(Deficit) 3316.9

6 Goals for the next session

I have two major goals for the coming sessions: to work with the secretary and webmaster in revamping the web-pages of the Society; to oversee an orderly transition to a new President at the end of the session.

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts is Registered Scottish Charity SC015549

The Society's website is maintained by <webmaster @ rssa.org.uk>