Scottish independence: Academics handed £1 million to inform debate

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More than £1 million has been set side for senior academics to study the implications of Scottish independence.

The seven one-year fellowships at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are part of the Scotland Senior Fellowships Scheme, which aims to promote issues in relation to Scotland’s future.

The scheme is expected to inform the debate in the run-up to the referendum and assist in planning across a wide range of areas which will be affected by the outcome of the vote.

Among the fellows is regular Scotsman contributor David Bell, professor of economics at Stirling University; Professor John Curtice from the National Centre for Social Research; and Dr Nicola McEwen, director of public policy at the Academy of Government and a lecturer in politics at Edinburgh University.

ESRC chief executive Professor Paul Boyle said: “It is crucial that the best possible independent research evidence should be available to inform those who need it, such as Scottish voters, and individuals and organisations inside and outside Scotland who are making decisions which may be affected by the outcome.”

The ESRC is the UK’s largest body for funding economic and social research, supporting over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students on a budget of £200m.