Fiona Armstrong

A senior figure from UK Research and Innovation has been announced as Heriot-Watt University’s new Global Director of Research Engagement.

The Research Engagement Directorate provides a comprehensive, specialised service within our University, focusing on achieving research excellence and impact in society. It plays a key role in supporting our researchers while they develop their proposals - working closely with industry partners on a number of knowledge exchange projects, this directorate is crucial in securing funding for our academic colleagues on a global stage.

Dr Fiona Armstrong holds a doctorate in Plant Biophysics, and is currently Deputy Director of Community Engagement for UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) EU Exit Programme, ensuring continuity of academic funding should the UK leave the EU without a deal. She has had a number of leading roles within the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), spearheading projects to support the transition to UKRI, and having oversight of the Strategy and Communications teams, as well as business improvement generally.

Ann Marie Dalton-Pillay, University Secretary, said: “We are very excited to welcome Dr Fiona Armstrong to Heriot-Watt. As a University, we are acutely aware of the changing political climate, and this may impact on the funding we receive for our research projects. Fiona’s experience at UKRI, as well as her experience across a variety of Research Councils, will be invaluable to us as we move forward to deliver the ambitions of our new strategy, Strategy 2025.

“Her understanding of research capability and organisational change align perfectly to our mission: to excel in research and enterprise. A globally aligned Directorate under Fiona’s leadership has the opportunity to position us fantastically well for the future.”

Dr Fiona Armstrong added: “I am looking forward, with my new team, to build on Dr Alicia Greated’s achievements. For more than 20 years I have worked with the UK Research Councils and UK Research and Innovation; I'm excited to be coming back to higher education. I feel that I couldn't be joining Heriot-Watt at a better time, as we look to implement our new strategy and put professional research engagement at the heart of achieving our ambitious goals.”