Scottish independence: Academics fear a university brain drain of country's best scientists
Institutions could lose billions of pounds of funding for research
Sunday 31 August 2014
Scottish universities could face a brain drain of some of their finest scientists if the country votes for independence, a number of leading academics fear.
They voiced concerns that the institutions could lose billions of pounds of funding for research.
Several senior scientists have already been contacted by English universities because of the prospect of a yes vote in the referendum on 18 September, sources told The Guardian.
Professor Richard Cogdell, director of Glasgow University’s Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, said: “I have had contact with staff who have said 'if it's a yes vote, then I would be looking to leave.'"
Professor David Weller, director of Edinburgh University’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, said four-fifths of the centre’s work was carried out with cancer charities and other researchers in the rest of Britain.
“There's just no way if Scotland was a separate country that kind of arrangement could be sustained. There are huge concerns in the area I work in,” he said.
And Professor Jim Naismith, head of the biomedical sciences research complex at St Andrews University, said: “There will a drift away [of expertise]. It will start slowly but there will be a clear drift.
“It's not just the people who leave, we won't be able to bring people in from outside.”
A source close to Mike Russell, the Scottish education secretary, told The Guardian that the academics’ concerns were unfounded.
“We have already made clear that in all circumstances we will guarantee that research funding is maintained during and after Scotland's transition to independence,” he said.
And Dr Steven Watson, a Glasgow University mathematician who helped found the Academics for Yes group, said research spending was being used as a “political football” and pointed to international collaboration within the European Union.
“The UK certainly doesn't have any barrier to dealing with the EU, why wouldn't the UK choose to do that with a nation [Scotland] which is far closer and has far more affinity with,” he said.
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...