The Herald’s columnist Professor Linda Bauld has said she is “delighted” to have been made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, after putting in “many, many hours” with public health colleagues during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prof Bauld, was among those from the scientific, medical and public health communities whose role role in the coronavirus pandemic has been recognised in today’s list of honours.

Prof Bauld has been a regular on TV and radio in the past 15 months, explaining the course of the pandemic and commenting on the various restrictions put in place by Government.

Professor Linda Bauld has been recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours List

Professor Linda Bauld has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List

She has also been an adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s Covid-19 Committee, all while continuing her role as chair of public health at Edinburgh University.

She said: “I just got a letter from the office that manages the honours system. I had no idea and I was delighted.

“I think everybody working in public health has had to step up during the pandemic and try and figure out how they were going to contribute, what their skills were.

“I have, for quite some time, engaged with the media and done a lot of science communication - trying to interpret data and communicate it to the public and decision makers.

“I think the OBE is for two things, it’s for contributing to the response to address the pandemic and public understanding.”

Most Scots will recognise Prof Bauld from various media appearances since the onset of the pandemic, which she hopes has highlighted the need for effective scientific communication in the future.

“That’s not a role that academics often are trained to take up and it’s not always valued by universities,” she said.

But the professor predicts a “sea change” in scientific communication across the world as a result of the pandemic.

“Scientists have never been in the public limelight on television and radio to the extent that they have been over the past 15 months,” she said.

“That’s because the public needed to hear from the scientists doing the research or understanding the research.”

Prof Bauld also said she hopes the pandemic will show universities and other research bodies the value of scientific communication, while also helping to improve scientific literacy.

Interest in the public health field, she said, has also increased in the last year.

“There’s absolutely no doubt to me that epidemiology, public health, virology, all the disciplines associated with trying to find solutions to a crisis on the science side are more accessible to pupils now,” she said.

“I just hope there’s more interest in science. In medicine, in public health and also in population health.

“Let’s try and find good things to take from this.”

Elsewhere, Professor Fiona McQueen, from Ayrshire, who retired as the country’s chief nursing officer earlier this year after seven years in the role, gets a CBE for services to the NHS in Scotland.

Recently retired Chief Nursing Officer Fiona McQueen.

Recently retired Chief Nursing Officer Fiona McQueen.

Mrs McQueen delayed her retirement to stay on due to the pandemic, and while she said she was honoured she felt this was recognition for the dedication all nurses have shown.

“Nurses in Scotland really came to the fore in the past year, I have always been proud of them. I am a career nurse who left school and went into the profession. I think this honour recognises the whole profession and I am very honoured and excited. It show the depth and gratitude people have for nurses who put their uniforms on and went out there and cared for people during the pandemic."

Other recipients included Paul Cackette, of Edinburgh, Holyrood’s former legal director and now director of outbreak control management, is made a CBE for services to the Scottish Government.

Teaching chief Ken Muir, of Ladybank, Fife, is also made a CBE for services to education in light of his work during the pandemic.

Retiring as head of the General Teaching Council for Scotland earlier this year, Mr Muir said he had been “honoured” to hold the “best job in Scottish education”.

His career in education spanned 42 years and he was recently made an honorary professor at the University of the West of Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was pleased to see that many individuals who have helped to tackle the coronavirus pandemic have been recognised.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I know we are all hugely grateful to each and every one of them, and it is right that their stellar efforts have been acknowledged in this way. Our emergency services have always gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep people and communities across Scotland safe, and never more so than during these unprecedented times. I also want to extend my congratulations to those personnel who have been awarded The Queen’s Fire, Police or Ambulance Service Medals.”