University Principal Sir Timothy O'Shea to receive 2017 Edinburgh Award

Sir Timothy O’Shea, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh and Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has been chosen to receive the prestigious Edinburgh Award.

Timothy O'Shea
Sir Timothy O'Shea (Image credit University of Edinburgh)

After 15 years at the helm of Scotland’s biggest University, the 68-old professor has been named by Edinburgh’s Lord Provost as the 11th person to receive the city’s biggest annual accolade.

Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “Placing Scotland’s Capital on the world stage as a beacon of knowledge, research and further education; the University of Edinburgh promotes the city as an international leader for academic excellence.

“Driven in large part by Sir Timothy, the institution has expanded over the last 15 years and asserted itself as one of the top 25 academic institutions in the world under his watch. After successfully steering it through the challenges of the UK’s economic crisis, Sir Timothy has enhanced the profile of the University and, in doing so, the city for which he is thanked.

“Sir Timothy has done much to promote Edinburgh to the world and to support close to 10,000 FTE jobs, the education of more than 39,000 students, and invaluable academic research. I hope this award goes some way towards recognising all that he has achieved for and on behalf of the city.”

Sir Timothy will retire in January 2018 having presided over a period of significant growth, which has seen Edinburgh consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world. 

He will be presented with an engraved Loving Cup from Edinburgh’s Lord Provost at a special ceremony later this year. A cast of his handprints will be set in stone outside the City Chambers, where they will sit alongside those of previous Edinburgh Award recipients: Ian Rankin, JK Rowling, George Kerr, Sir Chris Hoy, Professor Peter Higgs, Elizabeth Blackadder, Professor Richard Demarco, Tom Gilzean, Sir Tom Farmer and Ken Buchanan.

Sir Timothy O’Shea added: “As someone who loves the city and enjoys living and working here so much, I am delighted to receive this award. Having been Principal of the University for 15 years, and Chair of the Fringe for the past five, I have seen at close quarters how the Council has helped both to flourish. 

"The University and the Fringe have greatly benefited from the vision and energy demonstrated by councillors and officials. It has been an enormous pleasure to work with them in promoting Edinburgh.”

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