Reach Society
Reach Society

Sir Geoff Palmer to Receive the Edinburgh Award 2022

A lifetime of academia and activism celebrated Sir Geoff Palmer, Professor Emeritus and Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, was selected in September to receive the Edinburgh Award 2022.

In recognition of his ground-breaking contributions to academia, and his indefatigable defence of human rights in Edinburgh and beyond, Sir Geoff Palmer will be presented with an engraved Loving Cup from the Lord Provost and have his handprints set in stone at the City Chambers later this year.

Sir Geoff has a long association with the city of Edinburgh, he first arrived in the Capital in 1964 to pursue a PhD in Grain Science and Technology jointly with the then Heriot-Watt College and the University of Edinburgh. Upon completion of his doctorate in 1967 he began working at the Brewing Research Foundation where he developed the industrial process of Barley Abrasion and pioneered the use of the Scanning Electron Microscope to study cereal grains. In 1977, he returned to Heriot- Watt University as a staff member and gained a DSc degree for his research work in 1985. In 1989 he became the first Black professor in Scotland and remained in Edinburgh until his retirement in 2005. In 2021 he was appointed Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University.

Sir Geoff was knighted in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to human rights, science, and charity. In 2018, he was appointed Jamaica’s first Honorary Consul in Scotland and was the 2020 recipient of the Jamaican national honour, the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).

Between December 2020 and June 2022, Sir Geoff chaired the independent Edinburgh Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Group whose work has been vital in profiling the Capital’s historic links with Slavery and Colonialism in the public realm. The findings and recommendations of the Group were endorsed unanimously by councillors on 30 August and the actions they suggest will form the basis of the Council’s continued response to these key issues.

Sir Geoff Palmer will become the 16th recipient of the coveted Edinburgh Award and will join the esteemed company of previous recipients who have all contributed in their own unique way to the Capital.

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