Ensuring World-Class Higher Education & Research

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Delivering for Scotland #6: Investing in Our Universities

Scotland’s universities are amongst the best in the world. Scotland has 19 autonomous higher education institutions which are represented by Universities Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government through the Scottish Funding Council.

The Scottish Government is the largest single source of university research funding in Scotland. So as well as supporting our higher education students with free tuition and by widening access, the SNP in government has been fully committed to supporting the institutions themselves.

In March, Universities Scotland welcomed the additional £64.7 million provided for universities in 2020-21 in light of pandemic challenges. And in autumn 2020, the representative body also welcomed the SNP’s Inward Investment Plan and its recognition of the key role of universities.

Since 2012, the SNP has invested over £1 billion per year in Scotland’s universities. The range of SNP government support for colleges and universities includes £75 million to protect world-leading research, £10 million for estates development and early access to £11.4m of Higher Education Hardship Funds.

Scotland’s university research also works across international boundaries – with researchers from four Scottish Universities involved in the research and discovery of gravitational waves, for example. The SNP’s manifesto at this election commits to producing a new International Education Strategy, that will promote education alliances with other countries across Europe and the world.

The SNP Scottish Government also commissioned a Scottish Funding Council review into how best to achieve coherence and sustainability in the delivery of further and higher education. We await the next stage of the review and, if re-elected, the SNP will respond to ensure that the sector is robust for the future.