Sir Jim McDonald is one of Scotland’s most accomplished engineers, and co-chairs the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board with the First Minister. He is Chair of the Independent Glasgow Economic Leadership Board and holds senior business appointments with the Weir Group, Scottish Power, the UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and the National Physical Laboratory.
Born in Glasgow, Sir Jim studied for his first degree in electrical engineering at the University of Strathclyde and started his engineering career as a graduate apprentice on the Scottish Electrical Training Scheme. He worked in the electrical utility sector for seven years and returned to the University of Strathclyde in 1984 as a University Grants Commission New Blood Lecturer in Electrical Engineering. He was appointed to the Rolls-Royce Chair in Electrical Power Systems in 1993 and became Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde in March 2009.
In HM The Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List in June 2012, Sir Jim was awarded a knighthood for services to education, engineering and the economy.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Physics, and the Energy Institute, of which he has also been President. He chairs two of the pan-Scotland research pools in energy and engineering and also chaired the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Committee for three years.