About half our higher education research base is already rated as world class and we are committed to further enhancing that. We have therefore provided unprecedented increases in funding to enable the Scottish funding council to increase support for university research by 40 per cent in real terms between 2001-02 and 2006-07.
I guide the minister towards the other half. Does he accept that, although Scottish universities perform superbly well, as measured by the traditional yardsticks such as the number of articles published and number of citations, Scotland underperforms in terms of growth in gross domestic product and entrepreneurial activity compared with similarly sized countries such as Ireland and New Zealand? Those countries have unified strategic policy functions that co-ordinate and guide science and technology research and enable their universities to make the optimum contribution to economic growth and development.
How does the Scottish Government propose to measure the economic impact of higher education research in Scotland, to reform our nation's science and research policy and to enable our universities similarly to maximise the economic impact for the benefit of the nation?
The Executive's progress report, "A Science Strategy for Scotland", was published on 28 February and sets out our progress on science since 2001. Although good progress has been made overall, the report recognised that we must accelerate our efforts if we are to maintain