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Scotland's Science Strengths

Scotland has a history of outstanding science innovation and Scotland's science and research base continues to be among the best in the world today. Investment in our research base has produced very positive results in terms of quality and impact.

A report compiled in 2009 confirms that Scotland's research is cited by other researchers around the world more often than any other country, in comparison to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The report, compiled by Evidence Ltd, provides information on the performance of Scotland's research base relative to that of the 26 comparator countries which are responsible for around 95 per cent of the world's top research.

The data analysed are largely for the 10 year period up to and including 2008.

Key highlights
  • 1st - in terms of citations relative to Gross Domestic Product ( GDP)

  • 2nd - in terms of the impact of Scotland's research, as measured by citations per paper

  • 4th - We have 1665 papers among the worlds most highly-cited 1% by impact. This makes Scotland 14th in the comparator group by volume but 4th by impact.

  • Scotland excells in agricultural sciences, pharmacology/toxicology, space sciences, and plant and animal sciences - all more than 50% above the world average in terms of relative citation impact.

  • Collaborations are increasing globally and have done so steeply for Scotland which realises significant benefits in EU partnerships. Co-authorship with Germany, France, China and India is rising although the USA remains the most popular accounting for more than 31% of all collaborations.

  • Scotland produces relatively fewer PhDs in relation to our spend in Higher Education Research and Development than most comparator group nations and is below the UK.

  • In Scotland there are relatively fewer researchers in the private sector than is typical. The research population is largely in the public sector.