Scottish panel looks to future in wake of referendum

An expert panel has been formed to secure the future of research and innovation at Scottish universities in the wake of the independence referendum

September 29, 2014

The National Centre for Universities and Business’s Growing Value Scotland task force will be co-chaired by Sir Ian Diamond, vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, and Rob Woodward, chief executive of STV Group.

It will work to identify reforms that will increase the value of publicly-funded research and improve collaboration between industry and academia in Scotland, focusing on challenges, opportunities and competitiveness. Recommendations will be detailed in a final report which is set to be published in January 2016.

Mr Woodward said the task group was being formed at the beginning of a crucial period for the future of Scotland.

“As Scotland renegotiates its place in the Union ensuring economic sustainability is vital,” he said. “Scotland and the rest of the UK will only preserve our key role in the world economy if we can lead the way in research and development.”

The task force will build on the work of the UK-wide Enhancing Value Task Force set up in 2011 by NCUB’s predecessor, the Council for Industry and Higher Education, in conjunction with the UK-Innovation Research Centre.

The co-chairmen will be supported by a four-strong executive group made up of Peter Downes and Anton Muscatelli, vice-chancellors of the universities of Dundee and Glasgow respectively, alongside NCUB chief executive David Docherty and Stephen Blackman, group economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Dr Docherty said higher education and businesses needed to work together to improve opportunities for students and the Scottish economy.

“This is a time of unprecedented change in Scotland and it’s vital that we have a full understanding of the shape of Scottish research and development in order to plan for the future,” he said.

The task force’s steering group includes Sir Timothy O’Shea, vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, and Andrea Nolan, his counterpart at Edinburgh Napier University.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

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