You are viewing an archived web page captured at 17:05:31 Mar 06, 2022, which is part of the National Records of Scotland Web Archive. The information on this web page may be out of date. See all captures of this archived page. Archived web pages you visit here may leave cookies in your browser. These are not owned, controlled, or used by NRS. NRS do use cookies, including Google Analytics, to monitor site usage and performance. These can be managed in your browser settings. Find out more about cookies.
Loading media information

Publication - Corporate report

Scotland's place in Europe: science and research

Published: 5 Nov 2018
Advanced Learning and Science Directorate
Part of:
Brexit, International

Our latest analysis of the implications for Scotland’s science and research if the UK exits the European Union.

Scotland's place in Europe: science and research


Richard Lochhead Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

Since 2015, the Scottish Government has had a clear Economic Strategy focused on inclusive growth. The success of this Strategy, and therefore the prosperity of the people of Scotland, very much depends on science and research, creating new knowledge and new innovations, and contributing to both public service improvements and economic benefit. The UK’s possible departure from the European Union (EU) and the vital platforms which the EU provides for science and research fundamentally threatens this progress.

The development of new scientific approaches has always depended on a free exchange of ideas between researchers regardless of geographical and political boundaries. International collaboration is a key driver of academic success and research excellence. We know that on average the impact of scientific papers is greater when there is international co-authorship. For example, scientists at the University of Glasgow recently worked with researchers in Milan on a ground-breaking study linking head trauma with the likelihood of dementia. Such life-saving work is only possible through the networks of collaboration and information exchange within which Scotland participates.

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2019 demonstrates that nine of Scotland’s universities are in the global Top 200 for International Outlook. It is no surprise therefore that Scottish research organisations have been successful in participating in EU programmes for research & innovation. Our international outlook means Scotland is proud to be a destination of choice for students and academics from all over the world. Continuing international collaboration is critical to maintaining and strengthening Scotland’s excellence in research as well as meeting our economic policy goals and improving public services. Brexit and the related hostile immigration policies of the UK Government should not be allowed to stymie Scotland’s scientific and economic progress.

The UK Government does not have a credible plan to ensure that our valuable science and research can be maintained and enhanced following Brexit. This is an existential threat to our sector. The Scottish Government is the only administration in the UK which has had a consistent plan since 2016 to resolve these issues. Our plan, to stay in the European Single Market and Customs Union, is the only solution, short of remaining a full EU Member, which would break the current impasse which has brought us to the brink of a no-deal Brexit. As set out in this paper, Scotland has much to offer the world when it comes to science and research.

I can assure you that the Scottish Government will do everything it can to continue to bolster our academic strengths through its existing valuable partnerships and new collaborations across Europe and beyond.

Richard Lochhead
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science


Email: Pieter van de Graaf