Research at risk

The Yes Campaign’s hope that the disproportionate success of research in Scottish universities would continue after independence ignores reality.

As a former member of scientific peer groups selecting the best research in geoscience, I have seen the intense competition for funds with sometimes as few as one in eight research proposals getting funding.

Given such competition, it would require altruism of the highest order for UK-wide committees, with 90 per cent of the assets held by England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to support research disproportionately in a foreign country. Scotland would find it hard to retain 8 per cent (a share based on population), never mind its current 13 per cent. Under such circumstances we risk losing top researchers and triggering a downward spiral.

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David Sugden

Professor Emeritus

School of Geosciences

University of Edinburgh