Nature – Scottish [and Catalan] science is ready to go it alone

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Scientists in restless territories such as Scotland, Quebec and Catalonia should embrace change.

Referendums are all the rage right now, with British Prime Minister David Cameron pledging that a future Conservative government will hold one on whether the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union. And as Scotland gears up for its own autumn 2014 vote on independence from the United Kingdom, researchers — like everyone else — are starting to contemplate what such a step would mean for their own livelihoods.

Many scientists in Scotland are apprehensive at the prospect of constitutional change. Hugh Pennington, a prominent bacteriologist at the University of Aberdeen, has said that Scotland’s researchers should reject independence in the referendum, lest they lose their right to compete for grants from the UK research councils.

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