The SNP Government is increasing its grant funding for university research and innovation by £11.6 million (4%) this year, bringing the total to £296.2 million.
This funding boost will help our universities and their industry partners compete for research projects and will strengthen their competitiveness when bidding for UK-wide funding pots.
Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:
“Our world-leading university research sector is one of this country’s great strengths and that is why are supporting it this year with close to £300 million of investment.
“Encouraging and strengthening partnerships with industry is vital; it means that, where research leads to real innovation, the Scottish economy benefits too.
“It is important we secure as much of this investment in Scotland as possible, especially given the uncertainty our research and innovation sector is facing as a result of Brexit.”
The Scottish Funding Council will allocate the funding to individual institutions. Stuart Fancey, their Director of Research and Innovation, said:
“The research carried out in Scotland’s universities is world–leading and impacts on every aspect of our sphere, from the apps on our smartphones to the treatment of patients in hospital. We want to continue to grow our economy and get the very best for Scotland’s people through the application of new knowledge in our daily lives.
“The additional investment in research and innovation announced today will help us to do that, in partnership with Scottish businesses and UK-wide funding opportunities.”
The top up funding will be allocated this year through increases in the existing Research Excellence Grant and University Innovation Fund with the expectation that it will be specifically used for research and innovation partnerships with industry. For instance, to bid jointly for further competitive funding from UK Research and Innovation.
Kenneth Gibson commented:
“Scotland’s universities have a longstanding reputation for their research and innovations. Much of this work is carried out on in collaboration with industry partners.
“Only recently, researchers from different Scottish universities have shed light on how taking aspirin can help to prevent bowel cancer; have started creating pavements that gather energy from the sun and have discovered that children respond to different tones and frequencies of alarm than adults and that boys and girls are wakened by a different combination of sounds.
“Allocating an additional £11.6 million to support our university research is clearly a very important investment and commitment and I am delighted that the SNP Government has made such a decision.”