Scotland's place in Europe: science and research

Our latest analysis of the implications for Scotland’s science and research if the UK exits the European Union.

Safeguarding the Future of Scottish Science and Research in Europe

As set out in Scotland’s Place in Europe, we still firmly believe that the best way to continue existing collaborations, to guarantee EU funding, and to prevent reputational damage to Scotland is by maintaining our existing relationship with the EU.

Even if Brexit does proceed, the Scottish Government is determined to ensure that we maintain our international outlook and strengthen our European collaborations.

We want Scotland to remain an attractive place to study, live and work for international scientists and researchers. We’re also doing what we can to support EU citizens already in Scotland.

As announced in our Programme for Government, the Scottish Government will, for example:

  • make provision for an advice and support service, including on the new settled status scheme, and meet the settled status fees for EU citizens working in our devolved public services; and
  • challenge misconceptions on immigration in Scotland, building on the success of the ‘We are Scotland’ social media campaign.

The uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations has been hugely damaging to Scotland’s interests and is already inflicting reputational and financial blows. UK researchers’ participation in Horizon 2020 projects, particularly where acting as a lead coordinator, has reduced since 2016.

We welcome the UK Government's guarantee to support current and future UK participation in the current Horizon 2020 programme in the case of a no deal scenario. However, we do not believe this will be enough to prevent the negative effects of Brexit on Scotland’s universities and other research organisations.

In the longer term, we wish to be as fully involved as possible in the future research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.

We will also encourage Scottish organisations to strengthen their European partnerships in other ways, for example, through networks such as CESAER (see box) and LERU (League of European Research Universities.)

European collaboration Case Study: CESAER

Network – The Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research (CESAER) is the European association of 51 leading doctorate-granting specialised and comprehensive universities of science & technology, one of which is the University of Strathclyde.

Activity – The association champions excellence in higher education, research and innovation, and training, influences debate, contributes to the realisation of open knowledge societies, and delivers significant scientific, economic and societal impact. CESAER is acknowledged as a key research stakeholder organisation for engagement with the European Commission and other key decision makers in the EU.


Email: Pieter van de Graaf

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