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Scientists and academics in Scotland back staying in Europe

Nearly 300 scientists and academics in Scotland back staying in Europe

Hundreds of scientists and academics in Scotland and 10 Nobel prize winning economists – including Professor Sir James Mirrlees - have come out today to say that the UK is better off in Europe.

The 10 Nobel prize-winning economists unite to say that “the economic arguments are clearly in favour of remaining in the EU”.

These include Professor Mirrlees, Professor Emeritus at Cambridge University, distinguished professor-at-large at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a member of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Council of Economic Advisers; and also Edinburgh-born Professor Sir Angus Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University

The sheer weight of support contrasts with the lack of independent credible experts backing the Leave campaign.

205 scientists in Scotland – among 3,414 UK-wide - signed a joint statement saying leaving the EU would “stifle our science, innovation and jobs.”

Two quotes from leading scientific figures in Scotland:

“I want to live in a country that is outward looking, compassionate, welcoming and that has a central role in working with others to address global challenges. Membership of the EU benefits every one of us in the UK, whether through enhanced workers’ rights, imaginative environmental legislation or access to the world's biggest single market.

"Our science, engineering and technology thrives through the funding and collaboration membership of the EU delivers. This is the core of a successful sustainable economy. We mustn't condemn future generations to impoverished obscurity.”

Professor Dame Anne Glover, Vice-Principal External Affairs & Dean for Europe at the University of Aberdeen. She served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, and before that was the first ever Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland. Member of the Scotland Stronger In Europe Advisory Group.

“Our society and Europe as a whole benefits from our membership of the EU. The challenges facing humanity in the next century are profound. Solidarity, as we seek to solve climate change, hunger, conflict and inequality will be essential. Retreating behind our borders solves nothing. We need to influence the EU from within to build solutions for the future.”

Professor Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde and former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. Member of the Scotland Stronger In Europe Advisory Group.

Another 78 academics in Scotland – out of over 1,000 UK-wide - have said that the interests of universities in the UK “and the knowledge economy they represent” are best served by staying in the EU.

Businesses and universities in Scotland have received over £200m from the EU science fund since 2014 and is set to receive a total of nearly £1.2 bn by 2020 if the UK votes to remain in the EU.

This funds research into cutting-edge industry, finding new treatments for deadly diseases like cancer and heart disease and tackling global problems like climate change.

John Edward, senior campaign spokesperson for Scotland Stronger In Europe, said:

“Being in the EU is vital for having strong science and a successful economy in Scotland.

“It means more investment, more innovation and working together across borders to solve the big challenges we face, from cancer to heart disease.

“The choice in this referendum comes down to who you trust - the experts and academics, or the politicians leading the Leave campaign.

“I hope voters will think carefully about the long-term impact of their decision, because there is no going back.

“The overwhelming evidence is that we are stronger, safer and better off in Europe.”

Ten Nobel prize-winning economists’ joint statement

“Economic issues are central to the UK referendum debate. We believe that the UK would be better off economically inside the EU. British firms and workers need full access to the single market. In addition, Brexit would create major uncertainty about Britain’s alternative future trading arrangements, both with the rest of Europe and with important markets like the USA, Canada and China. And these effects, though on-off, would persist for many years.

“Thus the economic arguments are clearly in favour of remaining in the EU.”

George Akerlof - Kenneth Arrow - Angus Deaton - Peter Diamond - James Heckman - Eric Maskin - James Mirrlees - Christoper Pissarides - Robert Solow - Jean Tirole

Full text of the statement signed by 3,414 scientists UK-wide, including 205 in Scotland

“Scientific advance and innovation are critically dependent on collaboration. To remain a world-leading science nation, we must be team players.

“The EU leads the world in science output, is beating the US in science growth – and is rapidly increasing investment in research. The EU is a science superpower. Our place in this team has boosted our science networking, access to talent, shared infrastructure and UK science policy impact. The economy of scale streamlines bureaucracy and brings huge added value for all. International collaborations have 40% more impact than domestic-only research.

“Strong science is key for our economy and quality of life. It creates a virtuous cycle, leveraging investment from industry, raising productivity and creating high-value jobs for our future. In fact, 20% of UK jobs currently rely on some science knowledge. Science brings better medicines, cleaner energy, public health protections, a safer environment, new technologies and solutions to global challenges.

“If we leave the EU, the UK will lose its driving seat in this world-leading team. Free-flow of talent and easy collaboration would likely be replaced by uncertainty, capital flight, market barriers and costly domestic red-tape. This would stifle our science, innovation and jobs.

“It is no surprise that a recent survey showed 93% of research scientists and engineers saying the EU is a ‘major benefit’ to UK research. The surprise is that many voters are still unaware that UK science and its benefits would be demoted by a vote to leave.

“We, the undersigned, urge you to seriously consider the implications for UK science when you vote in the referendum on UK membership of the EU.”

Full text of the statement signed by over 1,000 other academics in the UK, including 78 in Scotland

“As academics from a variety of disciplines, we wish for Britain to remain in the European Union.

“Each of us brings his or her own perspectives, disciplinary, political, and personal, to the debate that will be resolved at the ballot-box on 23 June 2016.

"But each of us believes that the interests of British universities and the knowledge economy they represent, as well as the wider future of the United Kingdom and of our continent, are best served by staying In.”

Figures published by the European Commission show universities and businesses in Scotland have received over £200,000 from Horizon 2020 since 2014. (European Commission Cordis database, 31st May 2016).If the UK continues to receive 16% of funding that has been given out (as it has done so far), and Scotland receives the same proportionate share, it can expect to receive nearly £1.2 billion over the entire programme.