Press release

Dundee academics elected Fellows of the RSE

Published on 9 April 2024

Two University of Dundee academics are among the newest Fellows elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)

On this page

The RSE, Scotland’s National Academy, elects Fellows in recognition of their impact in improving the world around them.

Nominated for their individual excellence in their respective fields of microbiology and literature, Professor Sarah Coulthurst and Professor Kirsty Gunn are among a cohort of 57 new Fellows of the RSE. 

Sarah Coulthurst is a Professor of Microbial Interactions and a Wellcome Senior Research Fellow within the School of Life Sciences.

Her longstanding research area has involved studying how bacteria interact with each other, and how these interactions are important for bacteria to cause disease. Her contributions have been recognised by the Microbiology Society Fleming Prize and the Royal Society of Edinburgh Patrick Neill Medal. 

Professor Coulthurst said, “I am delighted and honoured to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The RSE has played an important role in my career since I moved to Scotland, particularly by awarding me a Personal Research Fellowship which allowed me to establish my own research group in 2009. 

“I was also one of the first members of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland. To then be elected as a Fellow of this historic and prestigious society some years later is a great feeling and reflects the contribution their support has made. 

“It is also very important that I thank all the people who have joined and helped me on my journey from establishing my group to the current day. None of our successes would have happened without all the wonderful people in my group, past and present, and all of the inspiring and supportive collaborators and mentors I have had the privilege to work with.”

Kirsty Gunn is a Professor of Creative Writing within the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law.

She is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes, including the Scottish Arts Council Bursary for Literature, the New York Times Notable Book award, Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year, Guardian Book of the Year, and New Zealand Book of the Year. Her last collection of short stories, Infidelities, published in November 2014, was awarded the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2015 and was also shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her work has been made into films, theatre and dance productions, and has been widely broadcast.

Professor Gunn said, "I am absolutely delighted with this news. The Royal Society of Edinburgh comprises such an inspiring and exciting group of individuals and I am looking forward to working with them and planning all kinds of exciting events. 

"I would like thank those colleagues connected to Dundee over the years, Dame Professor Sue Black and Professor Chris Whatley, for their support and encouragement through the election process, as well as Jenny Brown and the literary world she encompasses who recommended me for this honour. I am thrilled!"

President of the RSE, Professor Sir John Ball PRSE, added, “It is an immense honour to extend a warm welcome to each of our distinguished new Fellows.

“Individually, they embody exceptional dedication and accomplishment spanning multiple sectors and disciplines. Collectively, they demonstrate a profound commitment and determination to make meaningful contributions through their endeavours.

“From groundbreaking research that redefines our understanding to the creative pursuits that inspire and enrich our cultural landscape, the RSE proudly embraces the brightest minds, leveraging their unique expertise and perspectives for the betterment of society.

“As Scotland’s National Academy, we remain committed to mobilising a diverse array of expertise to confront society's most pressing challenges, and I am certain that our new Fellows will prove invaluable assets to the RSE.”


Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878
Story category Appointments, Staff