News & Insights

POSTED Monday 30-05-22

Dynamic Recruitment Success at Dynamic Earth Science Centre in Edinburgh

We are thrilled to announce that after a major recruitment campaign here at Aspen, we have successfully secured the incoming CEO for Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth Science Centre, as well as six new trustees for the centre’s board. The news comes as the centre was looking to replace its long-running CEO John Simpson, who has had the position since the centre’s opening in 1999 and is beginning his well-earned retirement later this year.

The centre, located at the foot of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, has for decades engaged the hearts and minds of people of all ages regarding our incredible planet, the variety of life that constitutes it, and how to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis – an issue more pressing than ever. The newly appointed CEO, Mark Bishop, summarised: ‘The importance of science has never been greater due to the threat of climate change, which is going to require the best brains to tackle the issues we face.’

Mark was similarly enthusiastic to be taking on a role which fosters children and young people’s interest in science: ‘I’m delighted to be joining an important charity that is committed to inspiring children into STEM and a career in science, as well as making people of all ages aware of the wonders of the world.’

Pete Downes, chairman of Dynamic Earth Charitable Trust, highlighted how the centre’s use of innovative interactive educational tools noticeably impacts visitors and their perception of their place in the world. ‘The millions of visitors who have come through our doors typically remember that we have our very own iceberg, or the shaking floor that recreates an earthquake, and we work hard to make science enjoyable and memorable through our fourteen galleries, planetarium, special exhibitions, and education, community and outreach programmes.’ Reminiscing to days of the centre’s opening, he added: ‘Back then, as now, we were thinking of how to excite and engage people of all ages to understand the science of our planet, the threats it faces and our special role in managing it responsibly.’

Hearing the news of Mark’s appointment, Pete commented on his exceptional capability in this role: ‘He has vast experience in organisational leadership and fundraising, with a fantastic network in Scotland and across the UK, which will be of huge benefit to our organisation.’


Non-executive directors

Mark’s new position as CEO is only half the story, however, as Aspen was also tasked with recruiting up to four new trustees. This role is strategic, helping the centre maintain its reputation as an engaging and accessible insight into the ecological sciences. In particular, the board was keen to expand its diversity, as STEM subjects continue to be male-dominated (especially further into STEM roles). After more than thirty-five applications and twelve interviews that we put forward, Aspen is delighted to report that the centre appointed six (rather than the original request of four) new trustees, of which 4 are women and 2 men. This has helped create a better gender balance than was anticipated and is a huge win for helping areas of STEM on their path towards better practices regarding diversity and inclusion.

Our very own Donogh O’Brien, director of Aspen People, highlighted the centre and the newly appointed roles’ significance for the future of ecological thinking. He said: ‘it was a pleasure to represent such a great visitor attraction in the capital city. Dynamic Earth has already had a fabulous reputation, however with the additions of the new CEO and fantastic range of trustees, under the stewardship of Sir Pete Downes, the Science Centre is likely to play a pivotal role, together with the other great Science Centres in Scotland, in inspiring the next generation of scientists to proactively tackle the thorny issues such as climate change.’

We at Aspen are delighted to have helped such an iconic and inspiring centre find exceptional candidates for its CEO and trustee positions. Not only will this ensure the centre’s longevity, it will allow it to innovate and adapt to meet the needs of the climate crisis and the challenges in diversity and inclusion that STEM currently faces.

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