Safeguarding Research Collaborations and Scientific Excellence

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2018.

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Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

I am pleased to take part in this debate on the future of Scotland’s international research collaborations. The sector has done much already and we should rightly be proud of what it has achieved to date and will continue to achieve in the future.

Scotland is renowned for its innovative scientific research, and much of its success has been the result of international collaborations between both individuals and institutions from across the EU and around the world. In my region, I see much that has been and is being achieved in those institutions and I pay tribute to many of them: they are world leading in their sectors and I am confident that that will continue once we leave the EU.

Although EU funding is important and very much welcome, we should note that the £105 million of EU funding received by Scottish universities in 2016-17 accounts for only 13.5 per cent of their total research income. The vast majority of research funding, totalling £630 million, came from UK sources. That is a massive contribution and it happens because our facilities are held in such high regard, and, as I said, that will continue. The UK Government has provided some welcome reassurances to research institutions by committing to guarantee research funding that has been promised until 2020.