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Scottish independence could put science funding at risk

by AprilSix Proof

Leading UK scientists have voiced concerns about the possible impact on research funding

A letter published in The Scotsman warns that millions of pounds Scottish science now receives from UK organisations and charities could be endangered by a vote for independence.

The scientists, including Sir David Carter, a former chief medical officer, biochemist Professor Jean Beggs, genetics expert Professor Nicholas Hastie and clinical surgery specialist Professor James Garden, highlight that Scotland received UK Research Council grants totalling £257 million in 2012 to 2013 – 13.1% of the funding available despite having just 8.4% of the UK population.

They write: “If Scotland were to withdraw from the UK and create its own Scottish Research Council, our research community would be denied its present ability to win proportionately more grant funding than the country contributes to a common research pool.”

“Life sciences research provides thousands of high technology jobs; it is now and can undoubtedly remain a cornerstone of the Scottish economy.

“We contend that Scotland’s research interests will be much better served by remaining within the common research area called the United Kingdom.”

Professors Bryan MacGregor and Murray Pittock, members of pro-independence group Academics for Yes, point out that a number of bilateral arrangements exist between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and that an independent Scotland should be treated no differently.

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