Scottish independence: Clarity call on shared research cash

David Willetts The Society has invited Universities and Science Minister David Willetts to address it

The UK government must make clear whether it would share research funding with an independent Scotland, the Royal Society of Edinburgh has said.

The independent science body said more information was needed from Westminster ahead of the 18 September referendum.

The Scottish government has proposed a continuation of the UK common research area in the event of a "Yes" vote.

The UK government responded that the arrangement "could not continue" if Scotland left the UK.

Royal Society of Edinburgh president Sir John Arbuthnott welcomed the fact that the Scottish government had set out a plan for a common research area between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.

But he added: "All is not clear, however, because much depends on how other key players, particularly those outwith Scotland, react."

Sir John claimed the situation was causing "uncertainty" in the scientific research community.

A Scottish government spokesman said: "With independence it will continue to be in the interest of both Scotland and the UK to remain part of a single research area."

He added: "The Scottish government has repeatedly said we would be happy to meet the UK government to discuss a range of issues ahead of the referendum.

"The UK government has refused to do so."

UK Science Minister David Willetts has accepted an invitation to address the Society next month.

Mr Willetts said: "All the evidence suggests that being part of the UK complements and strengthens Scotland's world-class research base.

"The UK government's position is clear: if Scotland left the UK, the current framework for research could not continue.

"The best way for research to continue to flourish in Scotland is together as part of the UK."

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  73.  
    Text using 80295 Favourite books - Get involved

    Beth, Borders: The Diary of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant is my all-time favourite book - and I worked in libraries most of my working life! It reminds me of many happy times living in the area in the 1970s and also gives a fascinating insight into bygone times. I often wonder what Elizabeth Grant would make of the Aviemore area and beautiful Strathspey now...

     
  74.  
    09:35: 'Value for money'

    Responding to the Accounts Commission's warning over councils facing increasing financial pressures, the Scottish government says it continues to give councils a good deal "despite the impact of the UK government's cuts to the Scotland's budget".

    A spokesperson added: "Local authorities have a duty to use resources as efficiently and effectively as possible to ensure taxpayers get the best possible services and value for money. We would expect all councillors to consider this report and any necessary action to implement its recommendations."

     
  75.  
    Text using 80295 Favourite books - Your views

    Margaret, Inverness: Gervase Phinn's autobiographical books make me laugh. Next best thing to good company. It's worthwhile joining a local library.

     
  76.  
    09:17: Favourite books - Get involved Kenneth Macdonald BBC Scotland Special Correspondent

    We're asking for your all-time favourite reads?

    Ken says: "Lanark by Alasdair Gray, and The Plot Against America by Philip Roth..."

     
  77.  
    09:05: Dundee V&A work...

    Construction work has begun on building the new V&A museum of design in Dundee.

    V&A

    The long-delayed project has seen its budget almost double to more than £80m.

    Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who designed the building, visited Dundee to mark the construction work getting under way.

    If all goes to schedule in BAM Construction's project, the building will be complete by the end of 2017. The museum could then be open by June 2018.

     
  78.  
    08:53: Favourite books - Get involved

    It's World Book Day.

    Every year thousands of bookworms celebrate World Book Day by dressing up as characters from their favourite books.

    Here at Scotland Live towers, we did see someone in reception this morning who looked like the Gruffalo but we're unsure if the poor chap was just in urgent need of his first coffee of the day...

    Family reading books/annuals

    What's your favourite book of all time?

    If you had to take one book to a desert island, what would you choose? Are you working through a list of "must reads"?

    The Scotland Live team are currently ploughing through: Wolf Hall, a David Sedaris novel Me Talk Pretty One Day and The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas.

    Share your suggestions for favourite books/literary characters etc and send in your pictures of dressing up on World Book Day - we'll showcase the best.

    Text using 80295, tweet @bbcscotlandnews or email us here.

    Or, you can visit our Facebook page.

     
  79.  
    08:45: Marischal Square special meeting

    A final effort to halt the controversial Marischal Square office and shopping development in Aberdeen will be made later.

    Marischal Sq

    The opposition SNP group requested the special meeting - though much of it is likely to take place behind closed doors as legal advice is given and debated.

    It follows a heated campaign against the office, retail and hotel scheme which is due to start construction this month.

     
  80.  
    08:34: Councils face more budget pressures

    Scotland's councils will face financial pressures "of a scale not previously experienced" in the coming years, the public spending watchdog says.

    The Accounts Commission said councils had coped well so far with cuts to their funding.

    Council services

    But it warned that budgets would become even tighter in the future.

    And it said council debt repayments to the private sector would peak at a time when they are set to face unprecedented demand for services.

     
  81.  
    08:25: General Election 2015: 'Tough fight' for Labour BBC Radio Scotland

    Professor John Curtice says Labour has a tough fight ahead in the General Election.

    John curtice

    His comments come after new polling by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft suggested big gains for the SNP at May's election.

    Prof Curtice told Good Morning Scotland: "The message to take away here is not necessarily, for example, that the SNP are going to win Gordon Brown's Kirkcaldy seat, but the message we should take away is it is going to be a tough fight in that seat and many other Labour held seats across Scotland."

     
  82.  
    08:19: Where's wabbit?

    Hillwalkers are being asked to help record sightings of one of the UK's most elusive animals.

    Blue hare

    Mountain hares - also known as blue hares - change colour from brown to white to better camouflage themselves against winter snow.

    Scottish Natural Heritage, the James Hutton Institute, and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust are trying to make a count of Scotland's blue hares - the only hare native to Britain.

     
  83.  
    08:06: Stamp honour

    An iconic Scottish bridge has been celebrated in a new set of Royal Mail stamps.

    Craigellachie Bridge stamp

    The Craigellachie Bridge in Speyside was built by Thomas Telford more than 200 years ago.

    Andrew Hammond, head of stamps and collectibles at Royal Mail, said of the 10 selections: "The story of Britain's engineering genius can be found in its bridges."

     
  84.  
    07:55: Portraits of people with sight loss

    An exhibition of portraits of blind and partially-sighted people living in Scotland has launched in Edinburgh.

    Its subjects include politicians, cafe managers and authors.

    Photographer Trudy Stade stands in front of her portrait of Jamie MacDonald, who inspired her project

    The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland said that Connecting Visions aims to challenge perceptions of people with sight loss as "passive and dependent."

    Visitors will also be able to try on special spectacles that simulate different sight loss conditions.

    Photographer Trudy Stade was inspired to start the project after watching the comedian Jamie MacDonald, who is blind, perform.

     
  85.  
    Email: newsolinescotland@bbc.co.uk @bbcscotlandnews 07:49: 'Is the feline fit like?'

    New film The Voices has a cat that talks with a Scottish accent. He is voiced by the movie's lead, Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.

    Ryan Reynolds

    The ginger tom called Mr Whiskers is the latest movie character to be portrayed as Scots but played by a non-Scot.

    Find more examples here.

    What others can you think of and how did they do?

     
  86.  
    07:40: Arts festival line-up

    Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival line-up has been unveiled.

    Bella Hardy

    The Scottish Chamber Orchestra and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli will be among the headliners and award-winning folk singer Bella Hardy will also feature.

    Eighty two acts will perform at 42 venues across the south-west over 10 days at the end of May.

    The event, which is in its 36th year, will also feature performances by the award-winning folk singer Bella Hardy and Scotland's Makar Liz Lochhead.

    Organisers have pledged to showcase world-class music, theatre, comedy and literature in towns, villages and remote rural areas across the region.

     
  87.  
    07:34: Fife Biomass plant opens

    A combined heat and power biomass plant on the site of a Fife-based paper maker is to open later.

    Biomass plant

    Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP will open the RWE's Markinch Biomass plant in Glenrothes.

    It replaces the former 1950s coal and gas-fired power station on the site of Tullis Russell.

    The new facility is already providing all of Tullis Russell's electricity and steam requirements, with excess electricity generation being fed into local networks.

     
  88.  
    07:30: Swanson stunner floors Celtic

    Danny Swanson's stunning strike secured a 1-0 victory for St Johnstone last night to consign Celtic to a first league defeat in nine games and end an 11-game unbeaten run.

    Danny Swanson celebrates what proved to be the winner at Celtic Park

    Swanson's effort moves Tommy Wright's troops back into the top six, while league leaders Celtic remain six points clear of nearest challengers Aberdeen.

     
  89.  
    07:22: Harris hawks concern

    Police are searching for two Harris hawks stolen from a bird of prey centre near Balloch.

    Hawk

    Staff at the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre discovered the break-in on Tuesday morning.

    There is growing concern about the wellbeing of the birds: a four-and-a-half-year-old female called Camay and a two-and-a half-year-old male named Terco.

     
  90.  
    @BBCDouglasF Powered up Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Aggreko temp power supplier, Glasgow/Dumbarton: flat revenue, profit -13% on currency shifts: powered Glasgow Commonwealth Games + FIFA World Cup.

     
  91.  
    @BBCTravelScot Wind caution BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Roads: 40mph speed restriction on the A90 Forth Road Bridge because of the wind.

    Ferries: Disruption to Cal Mac's Barra and South Uist service.

    Coll and Tiree ferries have been cancelled.

    Sound of Harris crossing and Iona on amber alert.

     
  92.  
    07:12: Tune in...

    For the latest analysis on this morning's biggest stories, including developments at Rangers, tune into BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland.

    Good Morning Scotland

    Listen live to the programme here.

     
  93.  
    07:09: Scotland's cricket World Cup hopes dashed

    Kyle Coetzer scored Scotland's first World Cup century but their tournament hopes were ended with a six-wicket loss to Bangladesh in Nelson.

    Scotland can no longer qualify for the knockout stages after losing their fourth match out of four in Pool A.

    Scotland's wicketkeeper Matthew Cross

    Coetzer's 156 was the best World Cup score by an associate nation batsman and helped his team post 318-8 - their highest score against a Test side.

    But Tamim Iqbal (95) led Bangladesh to victory with 11 balls to spare.

    "It's very tough to take," Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said. "We did a lot of things right today but unfortunately we couldn't put the full package together.

    "Unfortunately, we just couldn't create enough chances to get 10 wickets."

    The Scots face the daunting task of taking on Sri Lanka and Australia in their remaining group matches.

     
  94.  
    07:06: Return of the King delayed?

    Dave King has revealed - as dealing in the club's shares were suspended - he will delay becoming Rangers chairman, should he win a shareholder vote.

    It follows the resignation of the club's nominated advisor, WH Ireland, ahead of Friday's extraordinary meeting at the Scottish Championship club.

    Dave King

    South Africa-based King is hoping to oust the present board.

    But his ally, Paul Murray, would become interim chairman until regulators approve his fellow shareholder's role.

    Question marks have been raised about King's involvement following his conviction for tax offences in South Africa.

     
  95.  
    @BBCScotWeather Heavy rain BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A cloudy day. Rain in the north-west, heavy at times with strong south-westerly winds. Driest & brightest in the north-east. Milder for all at 9C to 12C.

     
  96.  
    07:02: SNP 'could oust Charles Kennedy' James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    The SNP could win the safest Labour seat in Scotland at the general election and oust former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, a poll by a Tory peer suggests.

    Polls in eight Scottish constituencies carried out by Lord Ashcroft predict that six could go to the SNP.

    Charles Kennedy

    They include Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath where the former prime minister Gordon Brown is standing down.

    Mr Brown had a majority of 23,000 in the Fife seat at the 2010 election.

    An SNP victory is also predicted in Edinburgh South West, where the former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, who led the Better Together campaign against independence, is retiring from Westminster.

    Charles Kennedy is predicted to lose to the SNP in Ross, Skye and Lochaber, where he has been the MP since 1983 and is defending a majority of 13,000.

     
  97.  
    07:00: Here we go... Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and a warm welcome to Thursday's edition of Scotland Live.

     

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