Arctic Yearbook 2012
An Arctic Strategy for Scotland
“collaborative research that advances the fundamental understanding of the Arctic region in general
and potential Arctic change in particular” (United States, 2009, III.E.2).
Scottish universities and other research institutes, such as the Scottish Association for Marine
Sciences, are involved in a number of collaborative research programmes and education technology
transfer projects in the High North, including through the EU’s Northern Periphery Programme
(European Regional Development Fund, 2008) and Leonardo da Vinci funds (Net-University Project,
2008). The University of the Highlands and Islands is an associate member of the University of the
Arctic (full membership being reserved for institutions located within the Arctic Eight) and there is
longstanding cooperation between Aberdeen and Stavanger (Norway) in the oil and gas industry in
part through their respective universities (Wood, 2007).
Finally, Scottish expertise in nuclear decontamination at the Dounreay site and surrounding coastline
could be shared with Norway and Russia, not least since it appears much of the nuclear
contamination around the Norwegian coast emanates from the Dounreay and Sellafield (England)
sites (Boelskifte 1986, Figure 3.2; Archer, 2009). Two decades’ experience in land reclamation with
proven results at Dounreay could also serve Russia in cleaning up the Kola Peninsula.
Military assets and consequently search and rescue capacity remain under UK control and cuts
currently being implemented to facilities in Scotland will make it more complicated for the UK to
support search and rescue in the High North (Maritime and Coastguard Agency, 2008; Johnson,
2011; Robertson, 2012); yet another indication that Westminster’s defence priorities remain focussed
elsewhere. Military security does not feature in Scotland’s International Framework (Scottish
A decision to develop and publish an official Scottish strategy must be based on careful analysis of
the political repercussions of such a move, taking into account its three most significant audiences.
From the perspective of the Arctic States and their populations, it must be balanced to suggest that
Scotland seeks not only to profit from the North but also brings something to the Arctic table. For
this reason, a balance between economic opportunities and scientific cooperation might be struck.
To the domestic Scottish audience, including those who favour the constitutional status quo,
be a statement of self-identity and must justify Scottish interests in the High North, explain what