Scottish independence: Pennington warns of risk to new scientific ideas

Hugh Pennington Prof Hugh Pennington is spearheading the pro-Union group Academics Together

Scottish independence could jeopardise scientific breakthroughs, leading bacteriologist Prof Hugh Pennington has warned.

Prof Pennington also said a "Yes" vote in next year's referendum could curtail the careers of young scientists.

He is spearheading the new group Academics Together, an arm of the pro-UK Better Together campaign.

Pro-independence campaigners said Scotland's global reputation in the area would continue.

Prof Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, said Britain had an integrated and internationally renowned UK research base.

He explained: "I would hate to see our world-leading reputation for innovation and discovery put at risk.

"I would hate to see the next big breakthrough jeopardised or see the chances of a young researcher curtailed."

The scientist added: "The absence of barriers allows not just funding and people, but ideas and innovation, to flow freely across borders.

"I don't want to put the success of Scotland's world-leading research at risk."

Better Together leader Alistair Darling said Scottish research facilities and universities in Scotland got a disproportionately high share of UK research funding.

He added: "We make up around 8% of the UK population but get over 13% of UK research funding in return.

"That is a clear, positive benefit of being part of the UK."

A spokesman for the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign said: "There is no doubt that deciding higher education policy in Scotland rather than at Westminster has been of huge benefit to our universities, students and academics and that will continue with independence."

The people of Scotland go to the polls on Thursday, 18 September, next year when they will be asked the straight "yes/no" questions: "Should Scotland be an independent country."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Scotland politics stories



  • Kim Jong-ilKorean kidnap

    The film stars abducted by North Korea and forced to make movies

  • TabletFeeling flat

    Are tablets losing their appeal?

  • scarlett Johansson7 days quiz

    Did someone try to impersonate Scarlett on the red carpet?

  • Woman reading on subwayCover shots Watch

    The disappearing books of the New York city subway

  • llamasLlama drama

    Two unlikely fugitives go on the run in Arizona

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.