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Invitation to be considered as a Trustee

The Macaulay Development Trust is a Scottish charity which is seeking new Trustees, as a number of the current Trustees are retiring by rotation.  

The Trust has between £15m and £16m in assets which are split between property owned in the Craigiebuckler area of Aberdeen and financial investments which are managed on an ethical basis. It does not raise other funds but distributes its investment income in grants.

The Trust’s purposes are to make grants or contributions to the costs of individuals or organisations as the Trustees deem appropriate to ‘support research into the sustainable use of land and natural resources for the benefit of people, their communities and the environment’.  The objectives of such research to include (i) improving the understanding of the physical, chemical and biological components of the soils, the atmosphere and waters, (ii) investigating economic and social interrelationships to provide the basis for resource management decisions and (iii) developing strategies for land management and resource use.

In the last three years grants totalling between £600,000 and £1.2m per year have been awarded, predominantly to the James Hutton Institute, the leading research institute in the subject areas of interest to the Trust. There is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Hutton and the Trust which reflects a long and close working relationship, and they jointly arrange and host the prestigious Macaulay lecture, now in its 40th  year,  and held in Edinburgh.

The Trustees come from a range of scientific, academic, land management and related backgrounds. They are appointed for three years’ and appointments can be renewed for up to a maximum of nine years. All Trustees sit on the main board and some Trustees sit on it’s committees, comprising:

  1. an audit committee,
  2. a finance and general purposes committee,
  3. an investment committee, and
  4. a grant assessment committee.

The main board, finance and general purposes committee usually meet four times a year on the same day while the audit committee meets twice a year, also on the same day. The investment committee usually meets twice a year while the grant assessment committee works by correspondence. The board has a part-time executive administrator, a bookkeeper and has recently appointed a new investment adviser. Burness Paull are its legal advisers, Ryden provide property advice on an ad hoc basis and Johnston Carmichael are its auditors.

The Trustees are adopting a recruitment process, where decisions on new appointments will be based on fields of knowledge and experience relevant to the needs of the Trust. The Trustees standing down in the next 12 months are a corporate solicitor, rural practice chartered surveyor and landowner, a specialist in the evaluation of research and change management as well as a specialist in integrated land management strategy. There is no requirement to match these skills although the Trustees hope to appoint from broadly similar backgrounds to maintain a balance. The Trustees, as with all charities in Scotland, are not remunerated although expenses are payable.

Further information about the Trust can be found on this website and anyone interest in being considered is invited, in the first instance, to contact the Executive Administrator by email at enquiries [at], replacing the [at] with the @ symbol which have been inserted to deter spam.

A PDF file of the above information is also available for further distribution.