Independence ‘would allow Scots research to thrive’

Students pictured walking along the harbour wall at St Andrews. Picture: Jane Barlow
Students pictured walking along the harbour wall at St Andrews. Picture: Jane Barlow
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ACADEMICS have clashed over whether university research is best supported as part of the UK or in an independent Scotland.

Researchers who support a “Yes” vote in September signed a joint letter insisting: “The real threat is not independence but continued participation in the union.

“Independence would not harm the research base, independence would protect it and allow it to thrive.”

The comment, backed by 102 signatories, follows claims by pro-UK group Academics Together that Scotland enjoys a higher proportion of research funding - 14 per cent - than its 9 per cent population share would suggest.

Academics Together highlights figures which show Scotland gets £230 million from UK research councils, £130 million from UK-based charities, £100 million from the UK Government and £47 million from UK industry, commerce and public corporations.

“We achieve so much more by working together and having access to UK research funding and facilities,” the group states in a letter on the Better Together website.

But the pro-independence academics say their opponents’ argument is based on Scotland being “too wee, too poor”.

Instead, they say a single UK research fund system could be maintained. Precedents are already in place at the European Research Council and Britain and Ireland already has joint agreements, Academics for Yes says.


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