A new group has been set up to support “a positive future” for Scotland beyond the coronavirus crisis.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has announced the Post-Covid-19 Futures Commission, bringing together different areas of society to identify and address issues raised by the outbreak.
RSE president, professor Dame Anne Glover, will chair the group, which includes representatives from the third sector, business, faith, media, culture, Government, public service, economy and enterprise, environment, health and education organisations.
The participants have been invited in a personal capacity.
Professor Glover said: “The RSE has as its mission ‘knowledge made useful’ and I can’t think of a time when that is more important than right now.
“The fellowship represents some of Scotland’s foremost experts and practitioners across a range of fields, sharing a common aim of freely lending their expertise to society for the common good.
“Our hope is that, via the commission, we might both help address some of the immediate challenges facing society and use this crisis as an opportunity to think critically about the present structures of our society in order to build a better future.”
Former chief medical officer professor Sir Harry Burns is among the prominent initial members of the group along with former chief scientific adviser professor Sir Ian Boyd, chairwoman of the National Theatre of Scotland Dame Seona Reid and University of Glasgow principal professor Sir Anton Muscatelli.
The first meeting will take place virtually next month.
Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, RSE chief executive, who is also part of the commission, said: “Whilst we are still in the eye of the storm and dealing with all that entails, it is crucial we start thinking about what happens next.
“The commission is intended to both help address some of the more immediate challenges as well as promote discussions around some of the bigger questions that the pandemic – and our response to it – raises about the kind of society we wish to be.”
She added: “We are experiencing a rare but fundamental shift in the way society operates which can be a stimulus for longer-term change.
“In some ways, the questions we ask in the aftermath of Covid-19 could be more important than those we pose in the present.
“The upheaval brought on by a global crisis, while overwhelming, can also be an opportunity to learn important lessons and build a more resilient and fairer society informed by evidence, expertise, and public dialogue.”