“Alongside Israel, Scotland is one of the two most important cooperation partners for science in Lower Saxony and the European Centre for Advanced Studies (ECAS) has a fundamentally important role to play in coordinating this partnership,” said Lower Saxony’s Science Minister Falko Mohrs at the Lower Saxony – Scotland Joint Forum at Leuphana. Shortly beforehand, a high-ranking delegation from Lower Saxony had visited Scotland to discuss the expansion of cooperation with various universities and Universities Scotland, the association of Scottish colleges and universities.

The delegation, which included Science Minister Falko Mohrs and the science policy spokespersons of the SPD (Labour) parliamentary group, Dr Silke Lesemann, the CDU (Conservatives) parliamentary group, Cindy Lutz, and the Greens, Pippa Schneider, from the Lower Saxony state parliament, as well as five presidents and six vice-presidents from colleges and universities in Lower Saxony, also worked very specifically on expanding Lower Saxony-Scottish relations. Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the University of Strathclyde and Leibnitz University Hannover, Hannover Medical School and the Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow as well as the Lower Saxony Conference of Higher Education Institutions and Universities Scotland. In the future, joint projects in the fields of energy transition and green hydrogen, transformation of mobility, education life science and security policy will be promoted.

The Scottish interlocutors openly criticised the result of the Brexit referendum and emphasised the great importance of the European Union for the Scottish science sector. Without exception, the delegation spoke to the front row of the respective institutions. In addition to the dialogue with Universities Scotland, there were talks with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Stirling and the Royal Society of Edinburgh as well as the Scottish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Culture.

Both the Lower Saxony and Scottish science regions are strong research organisations that are internationally competitive. By joining forces, joint third-party funded projects for renowned funding programmes such as ERC, DFG (German Research Foundation) or UKRI are to be created.