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Taking action in higher education

University staff central to economic strategy

13 November 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU Scotland today welcomed the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy and its recognition of the vital role for universities in delivering a Celtic Lion and called for the funding to match the rhetoric.

The strategy states that: 'A skilled and educated workforce is essential to building our comparative advantage and to the delivery of sustainable economic growth'.

UCU Scotland President Terry Brotherstone said: 'We welcome the fact that the Scottish Government and the new Council of Economic Advisers recognise the importance of higher education in developing the skills of our young people and in turn the Scottish economy. We look to tomorrow's Spending Review announcement to provide the financial support universities need to deliver this agenda.'

The UCU Scotland submission to the spending review pointed out the lack of business investment in research and development when compared to the rest of the UK despite the high level of research undertaken in Scottish universities. Therefore the union welcomes a strategy that has a clear focus on strengthening the link between Scotland's research base and business innovation and addressing low levels of business research and development (R&D).

However Terry Brotherstone said: 'To talk of Scotland's research base as though it was something separate from business innovation suggests a lack of confidence in industry's commitment to research. The deficiency in business R&D hampers the Scottish research base in building the networks that would allow university researchers to link consistently with those in business. We need to see initiative from business that will assist in the development of an integrated research base.'

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