Scotland has an international reputation for excellent science and research.
We aim to maintain and grow our strength in these areas to create a more educated, inclusive and innovative Scotland.
We are supporting science and research in Scotland by:
- improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and training to strengthen our workforce and economy
- investing in university research to maintain our strong international reputation
- funding opportunities for science engagement to increase scientific interest and knowledge within society
- nurturing life sciences as one of our economic growth sectors to help create wealth and jobs
- increasing the representation of women in STEM education and workplaces
- using science in Government to help shape and improve policy
Scotland's reputation for excellent science and research is underpinned by the work that goes on at its universities.
Three of Scotland's universities are in the Top 200 of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2019 to 2020, per head of population, Scotland has more universities in the top 200 when compared to the Rest of the UK.
Researchers in Scotland's universities are responsible for many major discoveries and innovations, including the MRI scanner, the development of keyhole surgery, and the theory that first posited the existence of the Higgs-Boson particle.
Our long-term commitment to supporting the higher education sector has contributed to Scotland's universities achieving excellent results in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).
The REF is conducted jointly by the:
- Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
- Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
- Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
- Department of Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DELNI)
In REF2014, 77% of Scotland's university research was deemed 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'. This is a greater percentage than for the UK as a whole.
In addition, 85.9% of Scottish research is judged to have an 'outstanding' or 'very considerable' impact on the economy, society and culture beyond academia, compared with 83.9% for the UK.
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