Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Independence of Scotland, Catalonia, and Quebec cuts both ways

Colin Macilwain in Nature:
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.
In Canada, Quebec has long fought for it's independence from the rest of Canada, affectionately referred to as the ROC to avoid implying that two countries already exist.  But I digress.

Macilwain raises a very good point: Would an independent Scotland be locked out of funding from the UK, and would the same happen to an independent Quebec, if it were to separate from the ROC? Would Quebec's funding from federal sources like the CIHR and Genome Canada slow to a trickle?  If this were so, it obviously wouldn't serve what's now a vibrant biotech and pharma community in Montreal, and it's leading academic institution, McGill.  Just another thing to consider.