A LEADING academic is taking a leading role in the fight to tackle alcohol-related harm.

Professor Dame Joan Stringer has agreed to be the independent chairwoman of the Scotch Whisky Action Fund, established last year by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to tackle alcohol-related harm.

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund will give a total of £100,000 each year from 2014 to 2018 to projects working to reduce harm in Scotland.

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It is managed by Foundation Scotland, an independent charity.

Its first chair, Dame Stringer is a British political scientist and former principal and vice-chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University.

She said: "I believe the Scotch Whisky Action Fund will have a vital part to play in tackling alcohol-related harm across Scotland."