Professor Gerry McCormac FRSE, FSA, FRSA, FHEA

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Professor Gerry McCormac FRSE, FSA, FRSA, FHEA

Professor Gerry McCormac has been Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling since May 2010.  

During this time, Professor McCormac has overseen a significant improvement in Stirling’s research and international presence and led the regeneration and development of the University estate. Building on the organisational values, which are typified by the phrase ‘a place where ability not background is valued’, he has led the transformation of the student experience, enhanced the global reputation of the University and greatly extended the University’s reach, relevance and connectivity.

Professor McCormac’s leadership has seen the University’s international connections grow. He led the creation of a joint venture with INTO University Partnerships, which resulted in a teaching centre for international students on campus, a physical presence in Suzhou, China and a significant increase in international student recruitment. He also established a presence with the British Council in Shanghai and oversaw the development of transnational education with partners in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Hong Kong. These build on and complement pre-existing transnational education initiatives in Vietnam, Oman and other countries.

The University’s internationally renowned research was recognised in 2014 with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work on social marketing. The emphasis on sport and in particular, the development of high-quality coaching and infrastructure have helped student athletes win medals at Olympic and Commonwealth Games and World Championships. In social sciences, support for dementia research continues to inform policy change globally and has resulted in partnerships with commercial companies.

A £40m programme of investment in student residences, completed in 2015, has been followed by a £21m Central Campus development that will enhance research and learning facilities, and a £20m redevelopment of the University’s sports centre.

Professor McCormac’s continuous emphasis on increasing the University’s research capacity has, in 2018, led to a heads of terms agreement with the Scottish and UK governments for a £22m City Deal. The deal will see the development of Scotland’s International Environment Centre and a new Institute of Aquaculture on the Stirling campus, further strengthening relationships with business and industry and placing the University’s innovation and expertise at the centre of efforts to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing the world.

Prior to his appointment at Stirling, Professor McCormac was Pro-Vice Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast from 2001 to 2010. He has a background in science, and has undertaken research into both Space Physics and Carbon Dating. He previously worked on the NASA Dynamics Explorer satellite programme at the University of Michigan, before becoming Director of the Carbon Dating facility at Queen’s University Belfast, where he undertook research into global carbon cycling and the dating of historic monuments.

Fellowships, Boards and Committees

  • Fellow – Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE)
  • Fellow – Society of Antiquaries (FSA)
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Fellow Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufacturers (FRSA)
  • Universities Scotland – Vice-Convener
  • Universities Scotland – Lead Member for Education
  • Universities UK – Member
  • Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) Scottish Chair – UK Member
  • UUK Innovation & Grown Policy Network – Member
  • All Party Parliamentary University Group – Council Member


  • Vice-Chairman – Invest Northern Ireland
  • Business in the Community – Board Member
  • Institute of Directors – NI Board Member
  • Archaeology Committee – Royal Irish Academy
  • Independent Review of Teacher Employment in Scotland for Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Universities Scotland Commonwealth Games Committee (Chair)



The Principal and Vice-Chancellor is the Chief Academic and Administrative Officer of the University. The Principal presides over the Academic Council and, as Vice-Chancellor, deputises for the Chancellor and confers degrees in his or her absence.

As Chief Executive of the University, the Principal is responsible by Statute for the effective working and good order of the University. With overall responsibility for the executive management and day-to-day activities of the University, the Principal is accountable to the Court for the discharge of his responsibilities.

The responsibilities of the Principal may broadly be defined as:

  • Implementing the decisions of the Court
  • Initiating discussion and consultation on proposals concerning the University’s future
  • Exercising academic leadership and promoting the strategic development of the University


Mrs Seona Donald

PA to the Principal and Vice-Chancellor
+44 (0) 1786 467012