Darling launches Academics Together

Alistair Darling

Alistair Darling will launch Academics Together in Glasgow this evening which brings together experts from across the education, science and technology sectors who believe that we bring out the best of Scotland by working together across the UK.  The group will provide an expert voice in the referendum debate.


To highlight the benefits to Scotland of being part of the UK – and in advance of the formal launch of the Academics Together group, Alistair Darling visited the British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Glasgow this afternoon. The BHF invests £14 million in its centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which is 23% of its total UK cardiovascular research funding.


Speaking in advance of the launch of Academics Together, Alistair Darling MP said:-“Scotland as part of the UK is a world-leader in science, research and innovation. From penicillin to Dolly the sheep and the Higgs boson particle, we have been at the forefront of major discoveries that have changed our world for the better. We punch well above our weight with five universities in the world’s top 200.


“Scotland’s achievements have happened as part of the UK, not in spite of it. We have the best of both worlds today – a strong Scottish Parliament taking decisions about our schools, colleges and universities, with the benefit of being part of larger UK funding opportunities. Why would we want to gamble with this?


“Research facilities and universities in Scotland get a disproportionately high share of UK research funding. We make up around 8% of the UK population but get over 13% of UK research funding in return. That is a clear, positive benefit of being part of the UK.


“The only thing putting Scotland’s world leading research reputation at risk is Alex Salmond’s obsession with independence.


“The nationalists claim that nothing will change if we go it alone, but can’t back it up with any evidence.


“If Alex Salmond’s White Paper later this month is to have any credibility it must face up to the consequences of separation for research in Scotland.”


Professor Hugh Pennington CBE, who is emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen and will be speaking at the launch of Academics Together said:-“Scotland has a world-leading reputation in science and research. Our universities are amongst the best in the world and lead the way in pioneering research and new discoveries. Research in Scotland is thriving as part of the UK. I don’t want to see that put at risk.

“Devolution is delivering for Scotland’s universities. Right now we can have the best of both worlds: a strong and successful Scottish Parliament with powers over education policy, together with the strength of being part of a larger, thriving UK research community.

“After 50 years in the worlds of academia and medical research, 46 of them in Scotland, I have seen at first hand the benefits of being part of a larger, highly integrated, internationally renowned UK research base.

“I would hate I’d hate to see our world-leading reputation for innovation and discovery put at risk. I hate to see the next big breakthrough jeopardised or see a young researchers chances curtailed.

“The absence of barriers allows not just funding and people, but ideas and innovation, to flow freely across borders.

“I don’t to put the success of Scotland’s world-leading research at risk. I believe that the best way to build on that success is to continue working together as part of the UK. That is why I have joined Academics Together – to make the strong positive case for Scotland remaining in the UK.”

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