Professor McCormac became Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling in May 2010. He is a scientist with research interests in both space physics and carbon dating. His early career was spent at the University of Michigan, where he worked on the NASA Dynamics Explorer satellite program. He subsequently headed up the high-precision carbon dating facility at Queen’s University Belfast. He became Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen’s in 2001.
In 2011, he chaired a review of teacher employment in Scotland. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). Previous board memberships include; vice-chairman of Invest Northern Ireland, NI Committee of the Institute of Directors, NI Science Park and Business in the Community. He is currently the vice-convenor of Universities Scotland, a board member of UCEA and chairs the UCEA Scottish Committee.