Independence: What does it mean for Scotland’s universities?

Education Investor, April 2014

Later this year, the people of Scotland will vote on whether the country should become an independent nation. With a proud tradition in education dating back to the 15th century, Scotland has more top universities per head of population than anywhere else in the world. But September’s historic poll raises some serious questions about whether Scotland will be able to maintain this excellence if it separates from the rest of the UK.

Firstly, there’s the matter of the hundreds of millions of pounds in research funding that Scottish universities receive from UK research councils (RCUK) and charities. In 2012-13 Scottish higher education institutions secured £257m of RCUK funding – 13% of the UK total and a significantly higher proportion when compared with Scotland’s 8% share of the UK population.  Scottish institutions also rely on shared UK infrastructure, such as the Met Office and the British Council. And they will remain dependent on government funding while English universities have the freedom to set their own, higher fees in an increasingly ‘marketised’ system.

Full story here (£)

EducationInvestor magazine, May 2014

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