Innogen · News · May 16, 2013

Innogen to look at the future of Scotland and the UK

Innogen to look at the future of Scotland and the UK

Innogen funded by the ESRC to undertake three research projects as part of its Future of the UK and Scotland programme

Extending a tradition of research excellence on the social and economic impact of innovation in the life sciences, Innogen has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to undertake three research projects as part of its Future of the UK and Scotland programme. This programme of activities seeks to inform the debate in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum and assist in planning across a wide range of areas that will be affected by the outcome of the vote.

The Future of Scottish Healthcare and Research

Scotland is seen as both the ‘sick man of Europe’ and an isolated population viewed as a ‘living lab’ for researchers. Polls are already showing that access to quality healthcare services and good research (for both public and commercial benefit) will be a key area of concern in debates about independence.

Building on a decade of research into life science innovation systems and translational medicine, the sociology of health and illness and the history of medicine, Innogen is leading a study on the future of Scottish healthcare and research. This project will have significant impact on improving knowledge and understanding of the key benefits and limitations of the currently devolved health service in Scotland, and the partially devolved health research system, in the context of social, political and economic exigencies being mobilised by the referendum.

Innogen’s activities will inform public debate, as well as prove relevant to the clinical and research communities and industrial sectors by providing new knowledge, understanding and insights into the broader, systemic challenges of devolved healthcare and research.

Independence and Innovation Policy in Scotland

The potential for positive or negative impact on wealth creation arising from independence is relevant to all Scots, and the UK more generally. It is becoming increasingly important to anticipate how institutions and dynamics of Scottish innovation will be affected by different degrees of Scottish independence.

With a record of excellence in understanding the drivers of innovation policy and institutional supports, Innogen is undertaking research into how institutions in regional, and encompassing national, innovation systems respond to independence movements, and how those responses shape future innovation capacity through impact on higher education, entrepreneurial capacity and financial capacity. These activities will, ultimately, help evaluate how Scotland can maximise the possible benefits of different levels of autonomy and prevent damage to the Scottish economy.

As a result of this project, Innogen seeks to anticipate and provide evidence for policy makers, leaders of public and private organisations, and to stimulate and inform public discussion on Scotland, its innovation system and its prospects for economic growth.

Scottish Science and Industrial Dynamics

At present there is a major disconnect between the strong research base and the weaker industrial base in Scotland. While punching well above its weight in the UK and internationally in research grant funding, publications and their citation, Scotland has relatively low business R&D investment and weak performance in building sustainable science-led sectors.

With the prevailing view that Scotland is under-performing in the translation of basic and applied science through to innovation and entrepreneurship, this is an important moment to understand better how to increase the emphasis on Scottish research and it connection to industrial policy for a productive economy.

Building on the knowledge and insight being developed on the institutions and dynamics of Scottish innovation, Innogen will carry out further research that investigates how Scottish industry is connected to the Scottish research base, in light of institutional and policy dynamics arising from the independence debate.

ESRC - Future of the UK and Scotland