Scottish universities produce world-leading research and innovation, from life sciences and medicine to the arts and humanities. At this event we examine how to overcome challenges around funding, talent acquisition, and industry engagement in a changing world, particularly in the context of Britain's exit from the EU.
The higher education sector is one of Scotland’s greatest assets. Five of Scotland’s universities were among the Top 200 universities in The Times Higher Education world rankings in 2016/17, with 77% of research coming out of Scottish universities deemed to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. Scotland boasts the second highest number of world-class universities per capita anywhere in the world.
There are challenges for maintaining the reputation of Scotland’s world-leading higher education sector, however . One challenge is the potential hole in university budgets caused by non-participation in Horizon Europe, the successor programme to Horizon 2020. Britain's exit from the EU could also have a knock-on effect on the ability of Scottish universities to attract researchers and academics from across the continent, or to embark on cross-border bilateral collaborations with European colleagues.
9.45 Registration and morning refreshments
10:25 Welcome and introduction from the Chair
Professor Alan Alexander OBE, former General Secretary of The Royal Society of Edinburgh
Session 1: Where are we now?
- State of the sector and policy priorities in a changing landscape
- Opportunities to retain and attract talent
- Mitigating the potential reputational impact on Scottish higher education
10:30 Opening Address
Liz Smith MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
10:45 Questions and Discussion with Liz Smith MSP
11:00 Professor Margaret Arnott, Professor of Public Policy, University of the West of Scotland
11:20 Questions and Discussion
11:40 Refreshments and networking
Session 2: Prioritising Innovation – Strengthening Ties Between Higher Education and Business, Supporting International Collaborations, and Maximising Current Funding Streams
- Mitigating risks by strengthening and deepening bilateral research and business links between Scottish universities, businesses, and their European counterparts
- Identifying sectors for potential growth
- Addressing the funding gap with the cessation of Horizon 2020 and no plans to join the successor programme, Horizon Europe
12:00 Iain Phillips, Chief Executive, Oil & Gas Innovation Centre
12:20 Sarah Kirkpatrick, Assistant Director – EU Exit, Scottish Funding Council
12:40 Questions and Discussion
12:50 Interactive Roundtable Discussion
Delegates will be divided into small groups to discuss what can be learned from the previous presentations. The speakers will help facilitate these discussions and will be ready to answer your questions.
13:20 Lunch and networking
Session 3: Universities Post-Brexit – What The Future Holds
- Public finances moving forward and the impact on university core funding
- Making the case for research and innovation to drive the Scottish economy
- Future challenges and the next steps for universities
14:00 Brexit: evidence and emotions
Professor Graeme Reid, UCL and co-author (with Sir Adrian Smith) of a forthcoming report to the UK Science Minister on future frameworks for international collaboration on research and innovation
14:30 Dr Allison Jackson, Head of Research Operations, Research and Innovation Services, University of Glasgow
14:50 Questions and Discussion
15:00 Closing remarks from the Chair
15:10 Close of Event
*The agenda is subject to change