Safeguarding Research Collaborations and Scientific Excellence

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

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Photo of Rachael Hamilton Rachael Hamilton Conservative

Perhaps it has not actually read about the settled status scheme—[

Interruption

.] Honestly, we say time and time again that there is a settled status scheme, which is a reassurance for those people that they will be able to stay in the UK post-Brexit.

On that point, we have to be careful, because there are many people from the EU in scientific research roles here. They make up 19 per cent, with about 67 per cent coming from the rest of the UK. We need to ensure that we have lots and lots of excellent researchers—the brightest and the best—not only from the rest of the UK but from the EU and from non-EU countries. We need to get behind that, and we absolutely can do that. I think that Joan McAlpine should reassure Scottish universities about that.

I reiterate that Brexit is not the end point of great scientific research in the UK and Scotland, as the Government’s motion suggests. The negativity and lack of co-operation from the Government on Brexit matters are stifling the progress of what Scotland and the UK can achieve. The constant interventions from back benchers are so negative. It is a grievance agenda and it is not a positive approach. We have such potential here. We have the brightest and the best, but we want to attract more. It is just a shame that the SNP cannot see that.