Scotland's national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch has been honoured with a 2020 Fletcher of Saltoun Award for his contributions to science during the pandemic, making him the fourth of six recipients this year.

Award-organisers The Saltire Society said Prof Leitch was recognised for his application of scientific method to a major public health issue.

The society stressed that the public has benefitted enormously from his scientific skills, and commended him for making scientific knowledge accessible.

His ability to remain calm and lead in a time of crisis were also praised, noting his "evident deep understanding" of both scientific and public issues. 

Sarah Mason, director of the Saltire Society, said: “Jason Leitch has been a steady voice in a time of uncertainty, his calm and clear approach to disseminating information while being understanding to the general public’s worries has been admirable.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity recognise Jason Leitch’s work with the 2020 Fletcher of Saltoun Award for Science. ”

Prof Leitch said: “I can’t believe there is much good news inside a global pandemic but what a wonderful honour and privilege you’ve given me.

“It is a great honour to accept this award on behalf of frankly not just me but my broader family and also all of those who have cared for people who have been sick and everybody who has stepped up to do more than they conventionally would have had to during this really difficult time.

“So thank you so much again.”

The Fletcher of Saltoun Awards were established in 1988 and seek to recognise outstanding contributions to Science, Arts and Humanities and Public Life in Scottish society.

The first three awards were awarded to Professor Devi Sridhar, the chairwoman of global public health at the University of Edinburgh; Prof Wilson McLeod, a professor of Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh, and Lesley Riddoch, a Scottish radio broadcaster, activist and journalist who lives in Fife.

The remaining two awards are due to be announced next week.