DEVOLUTION and SCIENCE
Report by a Joint Working Group of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Edinburgh
The publicly funded research capability in Science, Engineering and Technology (the SET base) is a vital resource for a modern society. It creates new knowledge and concepts, new products, new processes and newly trained scientists, engineers and technologists who continually regenerate the scientific capability of industry, commerce, government and of the SET base itself. Its innovations lead to improvements in the quality of life, more competitive and prosperous industries and a stronger national economy.
Devolution will change the patterns of responsibility for regional components of the SET base and is likely to produce regional priorities for it. This will create both risks to the effectiveness of the SET base and opportunities to increase its effectiveness. It will be important to avoid the former and exploit the latter.
The UK has strong basic research which has the diversity to permit it to adapt to innovation no matter what its source, focus in areas where there is the best match between scientific opportunity and potential for utility, and is excellent by international standards.
These are benefits, which Scotland shares, which flow from the large size and competitiveness of the UK basic research system. The dis-economies of small scale are severe, and barriers between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be to the great disadvantage of all. It is vital therefore that Scotland remains a well integrated part of the UK SET base.
Devolution also creates an opportunity to use the science base more effectively to support distinctive Scottish priorities
Amongst the report's recommendations are
Further information is available from the Research Officer, Dr Marc Rands