Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 216

We want to build on these types of
partnerships to support Scotland in becoming
even more closely involved in the
development of the European Research Area,
and these ambitions are reflected in Horizon
2020. The EU framework programme for
research and innovation offers a significant
opportunity for our universities to further
expand their global reach.
Scotland’s academic institutes have been
active players in research framework
programmes and secured €620m from FP7
between 2007 and 2013. This was equal to
11.4% of the UK total and 2% of the EU total
for higher education and research projects
over the period. With our strong track record
in research and innovation, the investment
support offered by Horizon 2020 presents
particular opportunities for Scotland to access
new and larger sources of research revenue.
How would you assess Scotland’s
participation in Horizon 2020 during
the first year?
Our aim has always been to build on the
achievements already realised under FP7,
which, as of July 2014, saw Scottish
organisations (including higher education,
research associations and businesses) involved
in 1,400 projects and secure funding of over
€725m. This validates Scotland’s reputation as
a place of scientific excellence and home to
dynamic and innovative businesses, and we
expect the first results of Horizon 2020 to
illustrate these attributes.
This is a reputation we are proud of, and one
of the key aims of the Scottish Government
is to create an environment that allows our
businesses to flourish and grow, both at
home and abroad. I see Horizon 2020 as a
great opportunity for Scotland’s businesses
and academics to be actively engaged in
achieving this.
S
cotland is world renowned for being a home to leading
research and innovation. Alexander Graham Bell developed
the telephone, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, John
Logie Baird invented the television, and James Watt perfected the
steam engine. The country’s historically strong inventive landscape
is reflected today as Scotland secured over £700m (~€944m) of
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) funding. However, many
regions outside the country’s major cities failed to attract any
significant grants. The country is now fiercely targeting Horizon
2020 and has introduced a number of new initiatives to encourage
greater participation from both academia and industry. The
Scottish Government is also taking significant steps to invest in
science, technology, engineering and maths education, as well as
to invest in and develop its own innovation hubs.
In an interview with Portal, Dr Alasdair Allan, Learning, Science and
Scotland’s Languages Minister in the Scottish Government, makes
an assessment of the country’s participation in the first year of
Horizon 2020. He provides an insight into how Scotland hopes to
further increase the involvement of SMEs in the EU research and
innovation framework programme and the contribution that
Scottish innovation centres are making to RDI.
How important are EU research programmes to Scottish
science and R&D?
Higher education research in Scotland is internationally recognised and
respected. Its quality, innovation and collaborative nature have given
researchers in Scotland a strong track record of competing successfully
for funding at both a national and an international level.
Research investment in 2012-2013 was £969m from a range of
sources, reflecting the excellence of our universities and the high quality
of their research. In 2012, Scotland’s higher education research and
development expenditure as a percentage of GDP ranked top of the 12
countries and regions of the UK and was fourth highest among the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
We have achieved significant successes working across European
boundaries, with international research centres increasingly attracted to
Scotland due to the quality of our research base. Examples include the
Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, which is the first Fraunhofer
institute to be located in the UK; the European Lead Factory, a pan-
European platform for drug discovery supported by the Innovative
Medicines Initiative; and the first ‘Max Planck International Partnership’
in the UK.
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
216
U K F O C U S
Scotland: a European outlook
Speaking to
Portal, Dr Alasdair Allan,
Learning, Science and Scotland’s
Languages Minister, details how the Scottish Government is introducing new
initiatives to benefit research today and tomorrow
Dr Alasdair Allan
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