The salaries of Scottish researchers are too low despite better levels of university funding since devolution, according to a science agenda for Scotland published this week.
It says that applications to study science are falling faster in Scotland than in the rest of the UK and that investment in Scottish universities is low by international standards.
The agenda is one of a series produced by lobby group Save British Science in the run-up to the elections in Scotland and Wales on May 1. It highlights the science issues that the Scottish Executive and Parliament will have to address.
Ursula Martin, professor of computer science at St Andrews University and a member of the SBS executive committee, said: "SBS has also written to the party leaders to ask about their science policies."
It calls for researchers' salaries to be increased by a quarter to make research careers more attractive. It also wants lecturers' salaries to be raised.
The agenda shows that research-based industry in Scotland is not producing economic growth on the scale seen elsewhere in the UK and that the executive should do all it can to encourage industrial research and development.
Scotland is home to just 12 per cent of UK universities, but it outperformed the rest of the UK in 11 of the 29 science and engineering units in the last research assessment exercise.