Since 2004, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has invested in research pools, multi-university research collaborations designed to make Scotland more globally competitive, with support for SINAPSE initiated in 2007.

In November 2018, SFC announced an independent review of its research pooling initiative, with the following aims:

  • Establish the impact of the research pooling initiative on the Scottish research environment to date.
  • Consider the types of investment which worked well and why.
  • Identify lessons for SFC’s future investments in research.
  • Consider the changing research landscape and how the research pooling initiative sits within that environment.

A report from the completed review has now been published, which both sets out the success of the research pooling initiative and the challenges ahead for building Scotland’s research powerhouse of the future. A press release from SFC, including selected case studies of research pooling successes, is available here.

From securing investment to establish a Scottish centre of excellence in medical imaging to facilitating university collaboration to deliver solutions to industry challenges in advanced manufacturing, research pooling has had a real impact on the people of Scotland and the wider Scottish economy.” – Stuart Fancey, SFC Director of Research and Innovation

The report can be accessed here. It has been released with accompanying content, including three appendices and numerous submissions received in response to a call for written evidence, which can be downloaded along with the report here.

SINAPSE welcomes the report, which recommends the Scottish Government through SFC consider “a major investment at scale” that will build upon research pooling achievements to date, designed to “lever ‘mission driven’ research income into Scotland” and “provide resilience on the international research stage”. An executive summary of how SINAPSE exemplifies the report’s recommendation for Scotland to secure “the cross-disciplinary capacity needed to compete effectively with emerging powerhouses in the modern research landscape can be accessed here.

SFC is considering the report’s recommendations in detail and will consult the sector and other stakeholders on the response which it proposes in due course; the underpinning of research pooling will be retained while that response is formulated.