#AskFabiani – on support for science

Question:

What policies would the SNP do to support scientific research, especially things like stem cell research.

Answer:

Scotland is already a world leader in science and innovation and the SNP is committed to maintaining that position.

I have visited a number of science-based organisations in East Kilbride; few  more impressive than the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC).

From its base in the former National Engineering Laboratory (photograph above, courtesy of Glasgow University), the centre plays a leading role in research in Earth, Environmental, and Biomedical Sciences.

As SUERC and others are already doing, the SNP will work to ensure that more of the economic benefit of our scientific and technological endeavour is retained in Scotland.

The NHS has a big part to play in scientific development as a major procurer of medicines and medical technology. A re-elected SNP Government will incentivise research within the NHS, building on the work of NHS Research Scotland so that Scotland becomes an even more attractive location for investment in science.

The SNP will support the International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone, a hub of engineering excellence in Glasgow. We will do what we can to see this initiative expand.

We also propose an investment of £45 million through SMART:SCOTLAND to support near-market research and development projects by small and medium enterprises.

In the year ahead, we will provide £17 million to stimulate growth in the key industries set to drive the global economy, such as life sciences, digital technology, and energy.

Scotland is already at the cutting edge of the digital age, including as one of the world centres for digital games development.  With competitors across the world getting significant tax advantages, the industry in Scotland needs more support from the UK Government. One reason why the SNP believes the Scottish Parliament needs more power.

In a recent ruling, the European Court of Justice called into question the development of technologies based on stem cell research, which is clearly a debate with some way still to go.  Although the issue is largely dealt with at a UK level at present, I would be interested to hear views.

Linda Fabiani
May 2011

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