What exactly is it that we seem to have against our universities? If we’re not busy interfering in the internal governance of what should be independent institutions, we seemingly have an appetite for criticising the pay of university principals or their international travel expenses.

That last issue in particular got me riled. Are we seriously going to challenge principals every time they step on a plane while we lament the failings of our national export performance? Personally I’m delighted to hear our academic leaders are travelling the world and successfully attracting overseas students, top quality academics and international business research investment to Glasgow. Please do more.

The University of Glasgow recently published a report on its economic impact. In amongst the headline figures I find that over 7,000 overseas students were attracted to Glasgow by that one institution alone in 2013/14. Two-thirds of its income was secured from outside Scottish government, and some £200m comes to Scotland in export earnings as a result of its work. I know that Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian can also show extensive contributions to our economy.

Recently I took a team from the Chamber to visit QuantIC at the University of Glasgow. The QuantIC team leads a national hub connecting together quantum technologists from seven universities including Glasgow, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh. Their work involves faster commercial application of imaging technologies. What would you do, they asked, with a camera that could take pictures of leaking gas, or could see round corners or detect cancer under the skin?

Several companies, local and international, are practically involved in answering questions like these, including locally-based M Squared Lasers and the French company Thales, which now owns Barr and Stroud at Linthouse.

Look out for more on QuantIC at the Glasgow Science Centre in April. Projects like this build the foundations of our ability to earn a living in the future. And we happened to be visiting QuantIC on the day that academics from Glasgow played their part in proving that Einstein was right about gravitational waves.

Our universities are amongst the most successful in the world, adding dramatically to the economic success of Scotland. We have the highest proportion of leading universities per head of population of just about any country in the world.

So can we please put pay and expenses into proportion and leave our universities to get on with making your future more secure?

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce