Science will ‘lose out’ if Scotland chooses independence
The new UK life science minister George Freeman has warned that Scotland becoming independent would hugely damage Scotland’s “edge” in biomedicine.
If Scotland were to become independent, current existing funding arrangements for research in the UK would cease to exist for and would also hamper any scientific collaboration with the of the UK according to Freeman.
Biomedical research in Scotland enjoys a larger share of the national science budget, it also benefits from substantial funding from UK based research charities. Both of these avenues would stop and a lot of funding would need to be found from different resources.
He says: “Scottish science and innovation makes a vital contribution to the UK’s world-class research base, bringing benefits for business and society as whole.
“However, our [the UK government’s] position has been made very clear to date on this important issue: if Scotland left the UK, the current framework for research could not continue.”
In 2013 Scotland secured £257 million in grants from the UK Research Council, alongside this they received funding and investment from many medical research charities which equated to more that £! billion a year.
Based on all the evidence that surrounds us, being part of the UK complements and strengthens Scotland’s world class research base. The Scottish institution’s and researchers also benefit from substantial funding. They are also liable to the UK wide tax base and have access to a nationwide network of world class facilities and skills.
Scotland will vote on the 18th of September to whether the people of the nation want to stay part of the UK or become an independent state, which they haven’t been in 300 years.
The latest polls suggest Scotland would narrowly vote ‘no’ to such as break-up, but Whitehall is offering substantial reforms and greater independence on certain issues as an incentive not to vote for independence.
As a Conservative cabinet minister Freeman, like the rest of his party (and indeed all major British parties), believes that independence would be a bad thing for the UK and for Scotland.
Freeman became Britain’s first life sciences minister in July and spent 15 years in the sector before becoming an MP in 2010.
Freeman was involved in raising finance for start-ups and in developing the Scottish Life Science Strategy for the Scottish Executive in 2005-2006.
“Collaborations between Scotland and the rest of the UK have resulted in ideas with the capacity to change our lives. These exciting partnerships are a symbol of what can be achieved without geographical boundaries and the best way for research to continue to flourish in Scotland is together as part of the UK,” Freeman concludes.
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