Scientific Advisory Committee

Made up of external specialists, the Committee introduces a new element of advice and expertise to NatureScot.

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC):

  • advises our Board and staff on scientific and technical matters
  • reviews the quality of our research
  • advises on the scientific basis for the notification of any Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Scotland
  • contributes specialist knowledge and wider advice via working groups and individually

Some of the Committee’s tasks are to:

  • contribute to current NatureScot research and elements of the corporate plan
  • advise on novel and contentious projects proposed by e.g Scottish Government the Joint Nature Conservation Committee Support Unit (on request)
  • work with the Director of People and Nature to report to our Board and senior staff the findings of NatureScot research

Scientific Advisory Committee Terms of Reference

SAC Meeting Dates for 2024

18 March 2024

SAC meetings

The Committee meets at least twice a year – more often if required by the Chair and our Board. Members of the public may attend open session meetings of the SAC as observers.

The Committee often creates subgroups to advise on specialist areas such as marine designations and wind farm developments.

View our meetings

If you would like information on meetings prior to 2021, please contact us as below.

SAC members

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has up to seven members, plus one of our Board members as Chair. Professor Peter Higgins is the current Chair.

All of the SAC members come from outside NatureScot. They bring a mix of expertise in a wide range of disciplines.

The SAC Expert panel provides further scientific support to NatureScot and the SAC through advising on specific topic specialisms, and contributing to the peer review of research reports.

SAC member appointments

When positions on the Committee are available, we will advertise them on our website.


Paul Robertson
Scientific Advisory Committee Coordinator
Great Glen House
Leachkin Road

Telephone: 01463 725 256
Email: [email protected]

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