Public appointment: Trustees appointed to the Board of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Public appointments news release

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP, today announced the appointment of Professor Cara Aitchison; Professor Elise Cartmell and Stella Morse as Trustees of the Board of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.


Professor Cara Aitchison is President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. She is currently a Council Member of the All Party Parliamentary Universities Group, Council Member of CBI Wales, and a Member of the Cardiff Capital Region Economic Growth Panel. Professor Aitchison was previously Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth Marjon University, Head of Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh where she was also Professor of Social and Environmental Justice, and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Sport and Tourism at the University of Bedfordshire. She was also Professor in Human Geography and Director of the Centre for Leisure, Tourism and Society at the University of the West of England, Bristol and Chair of the Research Excellence Framework Sub-Panel for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism.

Professor Elise Cartmell is Chief Scientist at Scottish Water and is responsible for their Scientific and Research and Innovation Services. Prior to that she was Professor of Water Technology and Director of Environmental Technology at Cranfield University.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Chemistry and is on the Boards of UK Water Industry Research and Scottish Water Horizons. Professor Cartmell is a chemist with a BSc (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD from Imperial College, London.

Stella Morse is Chair of Eden Mill, the spirits company working in partnership with the University of St Andrews to create a new sustainable Distillery at St Andrews. She has had a long career specialising in finance and strategy at Board level in consumer businesses including Heineken UK. Most recently she served as a Non-Executive Director for the UKs largest fully certified organic supermarket and specialist whisky retailer The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, as well as being one of the founders of Edinburgh's consumer focused private equity firm lnverleith LLP. She has previous Trustee experience at Scottish Ensemble.


The appointments are for four years and run from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2027.

The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Remuneration and time commitment

Trustees commit to working ten days per year.  The appointments are non-remunerated.

Other Ministerial appointments

Professor Aitchison; Professor Cartmell and Ms Morse do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Professor Aitchison; Professor Cartmell and Ms Morse have had no political activity within the last five years.


The RBGE is recognised as one of the top four Botanic gardens in the world. Its mission is “to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future.” It contributes significantly to the Scottish Government’s National outcomes, not only though protecting and enhancing our environment, but also in the fields of economic development, education and skills development, social inclusion and international cooperation. As RBGE begins the most significant initiative in its history: the Edinburgh Biomes project will guarantee that its science and research remain resolutely focused on tackling the global biodiversity crisis and the climate emergency.

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