Stonehaven professor inducted among ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’

Professor Sue Black, from Stonehaven, is a forensic anthropologist based at Dundee University.
Professor Sue Black, from Stonehaven, is a forensic anthropologist based at Dundee University.

Stonehaven’s Professor Dame Sue Black has been named as one of the Saltire Society’s ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ for 2017.

Professor Black, an internationally renowned forensic anthropologist, was among 10 Scottish women from the fields of the arts, culture, politics, activism and science who were honoured at a special ceremony at Glasgow Women’s Library yesterday (March 7).

The 2017 inductees join the likes of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, J.K. Rowling and Annie Lennox in the Outstanding Women of Scotland community. Since the initiative was launched in 2015, the public have been invited to nominate inspiring women who have made a significant contribution to Scottish culture and society.

Professor Black said: “I am grateful to the Saltire Society for this kind and amazing honour. My fellow inductees have all made exceptional contributions to their individual fields and I am proud to be part of such esteemed company. They, and the nominees from the past two years, are fantastic examples of how Scottish women are making a difference in this country and much further afield.

“For me, this is timely as it comes during the University’s annual Women in Science festival, the only one of its kind in the world.

“The festival, which I am patron of, celebrates the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and aims to encourage more young girls to consider a career in these subjects. For this to happen we need positive role models to show women they can succeed in traditionally male-dominated industries.”

Professor Black is director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) and co-director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, both based at the University of Dundee.

Her forensic expertise has been crucial to a number of high-profile criminal cases, including the conviction of Scotland’s largest paedophile ring in 2009 and more recently the conviction of Richard Huckle, the UK’s most prolific paedophile.

At CAHID she leads a team which has developed new forensic techniques such as identification of child abusers through vein and skin patterns of the hand and other parts of the anatomy.

In 1999 Professor Black headed the British Forensic Team’s exhumation of mass graves in Kosovo. She has also been deployed to aid with disaster victim identification in major events such as the Asian tsunami of 2004. She received a Damehood in HM The Queen’s 90th birthday honours last year.

Sarah Mason, Saltire Society programme director, said: “It is a great privilege to once again honour truly inspiring women who change the world we live in. The Saltire Society exists to promote and celebrate Scottish culture and heritage and we are proud to work with Glasgow Women’s Library in the Outstanding Women of Scotland.

“Over the years, the contribution of Scotland’s women to the cultural life of this country has been truly remarkable but sadly too often underestimated or overlooked.”

She added: “By building the Outstanding Women of Scotland community year by year, I hope we can begin to address that shortcoming and bring women to the forefront.”