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Universities crucial to knowledge economy

14 December 2006 | last updated: 14 December 2015

The UCU manifesto for the Scottish Parliament Elections is calling for greater investment in the knowledge economy by increasing the resources for Universities, but it states that the investment must come from the public purse not top-up fees.

On funding the manifesto states:'Scottish universities have a world-class reputation. But they can only maintain it, and indeed enhance it, if they are well funded. The funding of higher education is an investment in Scotland's future, in the health of its civil society and culture, in the personal fulfilment as human beings of the next generation of Scots, and in quality employment and wealth creation.

Higher education can only deliver for Scotland and the world if the recent significant funding increases are maintained, and the challenge of extra funding for English universities matched.'

On the economy, the manifesto continues: 'Universities provide the professionals working in every aspect of Scottish society including public services, manufacturing, and research and development. They provide independent experts vital for the functioning of Scottish society.

'Business and enterprise spending on research and development in the UK is significantly less than our economic competitors and the figure for Scotland is woeful.

'We recommend that Scottish Enterprise and the SFC use their funding and expertise in facilitating links between industry, research establishments and the researchers themselves.'

On future funding options and funding for students, the manifesto states:'We believe Scotland should stay top-up free and with bursaries at a level which can benefit students from low household incomes. UCU Scotland is opposed to the use of top-up fees or student quotas.'

Alastair Hunter, president of UCU Scotland, said:'The manifesto sets out our vision for universities and their contribution to Scotland's economy. The key activities of universities rely on all of their highly qualified academic and related staff. They deliver the teaching, promote learning and carry out research. Pay needs to be significantly increased to reward and retain our academic and related staff and attract postgraduates to work in our universities. To ensure the future economic, cultural and social wealth of Scotland we must invest in universities to ensure we retain the brains to maintain our world class reputation.'