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RSE wants research funding clarity

Science Minister David Willetts needs to provide greater clarity on the UK Governments intentions. Picture: Getty

Science Minister David Willetts needs to provide greater clarity on the UK Governments intentions. Picture: Getty

  • by MARK MCLAUGHLIN
 

THE UK Government must make clear whether it would share research funding with an independent Scotland, according to a science body.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s proposal for a common research area with the remainder of the UK in the event of independence, but said “much depends on how other key players, particularly those outwith Scotland, react”.

UK Science Minister David Willetts has been invited to provide “greater clarity” on the UK Government’s intentions in an address to the society next month.

Sir John Arbuthnott, president of the RSE, said: “The RSE is not taking sides, its role is to enlighten the debate by seeking the answers to key questions about the constitutional options.

“We are not presuming the outcome but want to see the strength, vitality and excellence of the Scottish research base continue, whatever the result of the referendum.

“We welcome much of what Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell has said - in particular that if Scotland votes for independence, the Scottish Government would seek to negotiate the continuation of a common research area across the UK.

“Also that, regardless of the referendum outcome, the Scottish Government will provide sufficient funding to allow Scotland’s research base to remain internationally competitive.

“All is not clear, however, because much depends on how other key players, particularly those outwith Scotland, react.

“The present uncertainty is felt by many in the research community. We need greater clarity on what is a complex issue and we look forward to the discussion next month with David Willetts.”

 

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