The Scottish Dementia Research Consortium, Brain Health Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland are delighted to announce the appointment of Henry McLeish as the Chair of the Scottish Brain Health and Dementia Research Strategy Oversight Board. 

In July 2021, the SDRC, alongside Alzheimer Scotland and Brain Health Scotland launched the first Scottish Brain Health and Dementia Research strategy. The Strategy aims are to create an environment in Scotland that promotes the conditions for the highest quality of brain health and dementia research, and the rapid implementation of research into practice – setting the direction of travel for research in Scotland by defining key areas with strategic actions. The recommendations made in the Strategy also lay the groundwork to engage more people in research activity across Scotland. You can find out more about the strategy here.

It was made clear within the strategy that it was necessary to have an Oversight Board which would monitor the progress of strategy implementation and work with local NHS Boards to develop their own research strategies.  This Oversight Board consists of key stakeholders across Scotland, and we are delighted that former First Minister and Alzheimer Scotland Ambassador Henry McLeish has offered his expert leadership as Oversight Chair. 

The Right Honourable Henry McLeish, a former professional football player, and graduate of Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, began his political career in Fife, Scotland in the early 1970’s, working his way through the ranks of elected office including the Kirkcaldy District Council and the Fife Regional Council.
Elected to the United Kingdom Parliament in 1987 he became a member of the Blair Government in 1997. 

As Minister for Devolution and Home Affairs, at the Scottish Office from 1997 to
1999 he was instrumental in shaping Scotland’s first Parliament in almost 300 years. He was also responsible for Law and Order including the Police, the legal system and the Prison Service. Elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 he was Minister for Enterprise and Life -Long Learning overseeing higher education, industry, science, technology, and the economy.

He became First Minister (Head of Government) of Scotland in 2000: taking responsibility for Scotland’s emerging role on the European and World stage, leading official government missions internationally and implementing Scotland’s social and economic policies. He became a member of the Privy Council – an honour bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen – in the same year he played a key role in the process of devolution, which transferred key aspects of legislative power and Government authority from the UK to Scotland.

After 30 years in elected office, Henry McLeish retired from elected public office.
During the last few years, he has been visiting professor and lecturer at universities in the US, teaching European Union studies, UK Government and Politics.

Now involved in writing, lecturing, conferences, and broadcasting. Has authored nine books and is a regular contributor to the media on politics, public affairs, US politics, European Union, and football. Previously, columnist for the Holyrood Political Magazine in Scotland and columnist for the Scotsman newspaper.

Henry McLeish has worked with Alzheimer Scotland for a number of years, chairing the Fair Dementia Care Commission which campaigns for equity in healthcare access for people with advanced dementia.


We would like offer our deepest gratitude to Henry for agreeing to become Oversight Board Chair and we look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead as we put this Research Strategy into practice.

Meet the rest of the Executive Committee

Our SDRC Executive Committee are researchers and contain representation from different career stages, institutions and research disciplines. They are active in supporting the work of the SDRC and dementia and brain health research more widely

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