Universities Scotland welcomes Government Economic Strategy’s clear role for universities in delivering growth

Scotland’s universities today welcomed the publication of the Government Economic Strategy and resolved to play their part in its delivery to the fullest. The Strategy identifies a clear role for universities in four of the six strategic priorities including: learning, skills and wellbeing; transition to a low carbon economy; creating a more supportive business environment; and Infrastructure Development and Place.

Responding to the strategy, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:


“This strategy sets out clear expectations as to how universities can help deliver economic growth for Scotland across four of the six strategic priorities.

“Recognised in their own right as one of Scotland’s seven growth sectors, universities welcome the challenge this lays down to build on our success, increase the value of our exports, help innovate our way to a low carbon economy and continue to support the growth of Scotland’s other sectors such as the creative industries and life sciences. We are ambitious for Scotland and ready to play our part to the fullest.”


The Economic Strategy also repeats the call for greater efficiencies from Scotland’s public bodies, and the commitment of public resources to achieving key outcomes. Responding to this, Alastair Sim said:


“Universities are ready to step up and meet our efficiency obligations over the next five years. We recognise more of the same will not be sufficient and have brought together a new Efficiencies Taskforce, chaired by our Convener, Professor Seamus McDaid, to plan for a step change in how universities secure efficiency, including collaboration within and beyond the sector.”



The revised Economic Strategy identifies multiple contributions that universities can make towards driving economic growth including:

  • making Scotland “an international centre of excellence for learning and creative thinking”.
  • a role in contributing to a supportive business environment through greater knowledge exchange and commercialisation.
  • universities’ research and development is identified as an important element to the transition to a Scotland’s position as a low carbon economy.
  • the role that universities play in Scotland’s cities and city regions, something Scotland’s six cities also identified earlier this year in their shared vision for Scotland’s success.
  • recognition of universities’ internationalisation activities and the fact that universities generate £0.5 billion a year in export income.

Universities Scotland’s efficiencies report, Working Smarter

  • Universities Scotland has published a report, Working Smarter: the next level of university efficiencies that sets out the sector’s record on efficiency savings to date including £123 million in cash-releasing efficiency savings over the last three years.
  • Despite this, the report acknowledges the need to go further, and generate savings of at least £26m per year and provides details of a newly established Efficiencies Taskforce, drawn from professional across the sector to produce a road-map as to how to achieve this.
  • You can find the report here.

The Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy can be found here.