Scientific research helps to drive remarkable progress all around the world. For example, compared even to 1990, an additional 17,000 children’s lives are being saved every single day due to advances in nutrition, medicine, and engineering.
Scots have played a major role in this success. Most famously, Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic Penicillin in 1928, while working on a project with the UK’s Medical Research Council in London. The Medical Research Council still exists today, helping to improve lives all around the world.
The UK’s Research Council system is an excellent example of how we can achieve so much more when we work together. Many great discoveries, like Penicillin, cannot really be predicted beforehand, which is why it is important to pursue lots of different strands of research. However, pursuing lots of different strands requires lots of funding, and that funding can be better delivered by combining our efforts to leverage the UK’s larger shared economy. To put it another way: when we work together, we can afford to take more chances in research, and that increases our chances of discovering something truly transformative.
Pooling our resources allows us to build better equipment, too. From our new polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, to our Diamond Synchrotron in Oxfordshire, to our UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, we can better afford to invest in the hardware we need when we work together. Our greater shared population makes for more effective clinical trials, and our global reach means we can deliver research where it is needed most.
The UK is a global engine of creativity that attracts the best minds from all around the world, producing around sixteen times our per-capita share of the world’s best research. The Nationalists will say that small countries can deliver great science, but we say that when small countries pool their resources into a single research system, they can deliver even more. And better than that, we have already done the experiment: the UK works.
The world still has problems, and we still need to find new solutions. But we are making progress. Please consider signing up to Scotland in Union, and help us all to build a better world together.
17,000 lives: https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality-globally
16 times our share: https://www.elsevier.com/connect/report-how-do-the-large-research-nations-compare