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Taxpayers to foot £1.5m research bill before 2014 referendum

THE level of taxpayer funding for research projects into the potential effects of Scottish independence is set to top £1.5 million.

Already, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESCR) has appointed seven one-year fellowships, which will look into various aspects of Scottish independence. But in a parliamentary answer, David Willetts, the UK Science Minister, has revealed the ESCR is "in the process of commissioning an additional two fellowships".

The senior fellows, Mr Willetts said, would "act as champions for the social sciences, promoting the importance of social science research in addressing current and future issues in relation to possible Scottish independence".

The seven fellowships have overall funding of £1.3m with the lowest costing £94,000 and the highest £285,000. They are:

- Fiscal aspects of constitutional change by Professor David Bell at Stirling University, due to end by January 2014 - £284,622;

- Higher education, the devolution settlement and the independence referendum by Professor Sheila Riddell at Edinburgh University, due to end by February 2014 - £226,095;

- Public attitudes and the independence referendum by Professor John Curtice at the National Centre for Social Research, due to end by December - £223,481;

- Currency and fiscal options for an independent Scotland by Dr Angus Armstrong at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, due to end by March 2014 - £181,889;

- Constitutional futures and models of policy-making by Professor Michael Keating at Aberdeen University, due to end by January 2014 - £148,451;

- The referendum on Scottish independence: a democratic audit by Professor Stephen Tierney at Edinburgh University, due to end by February 2014 - £120,539; and

- Between autonomy and interdependence: Scottish independence and intergovernmental co-ordination by Dr Nicola McEwen at Edinburgh University, due to end by January 2014 - £93,703.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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